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Apr 1, 2010

Issue 10-07

Eleven new agricultural communications research reports from SAAS. It's a pleasure to call attention to 11 timely research studies that were reported during February at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference in Orlando, Florida. Here are the authors and titles of papers presented in the Agricultural Communications Section of the conference:

  • "Arkansas agritourism business operators: who they are, how they communicate, what they want to learn and how they want to learn it" by Jefferson D. Miller, Stacey W. McCullough, Daniel V. Rainey and Biswaranjan Das
  • "Students of tomorrow: agricultural students' use of selected social media" by K. Jill Rucker, Traci L. Naile and Bryan K. Ray
  • "Pick me! Aligning students' career needs with communication about academic programs and available careers" by Lauri M. Baker, Tracy Irani and Katie Abrams
  • "Animal rights vs. animal welfare: is society able to distinguish the difference and make informed decisions on animal care legislation?" by Joy Goodwin and Emily Rhoades
  • "Framing the U. S. Sugar buyout to restore the Florida everglades: a comparison of national versus state newspaper coverage" by Angie B. Lindsey
  • "Agricultural communication students' perceptions, knowledge and identified sources of information about agritourism" by Katlin N. Amaral and Leslie D. Edgar
  • "Competencies needed by agricultural communication undergraduates: a focus group study" by A. Christian Morgan
  • "College students' perceptions of rural America based on selected photographs" by Dru Glaze
  • "Social agriculture: adoption of social media by agricultural editors and broadcasters" by Emily Rhoades and Kelly Aue
  • "Relative effects of visualized and verbal presentation methods in communicating environmental information among stakeholders: Okavango Delta, Botswana" by Olekae T. Thakadu, Tracy Irani and Ricky Telg
  • "Readership habits and needs of a major beef cattle breed association publication" by Melinda Norton, Leslie D. Edgar and Don W. Edgar

You can view these papers here.


In the face of disasters: Communicative planners meet resilience thinkers. Have you had contact with scholarship in resilience? We have seen little of it in our searching for agricultural communications literature. So a 2009 journal article about it caught our eye. Author Bruce E. Goldstein reported on a symposium that explored ways to combine resilience concepts with communicative planning. What happens when your planning goes awry during an emergency - or when resilient responses lack direction during a disaster? The intent of the article was to examine how these two converging fields of practice might, in tandem, help provide rational decisions in the face of environmental threats and catastrophes. You will not find it a light, how-to piece. However, it may spark creative thinking about communicating effectively in emergency situations.

You can read the Ecology and Society article here.


Agricultural legislative interests outflanked on YouTube. A content analysis by agricultural communications researchers Joy Goodwin and Emily Rhoades revealed that agriculture had very little presence on YouTube during the recent California Proposition 2 campaign. California voters passed the proposition in 2008, banning the use of battery cages for laying hens, gestation crates for sows and veal crates for veal calves by 2015.

These researchers found, for example, that

  • 69 percent of the 103 sample videos posted on YouTube were sponsored by animal rights organizations - only 1 percent by farming/commodity organizations
  • 89 percent of the videos supported the proposition - 4 percent opposed it
  • Sponsors often used emotional appeals, such as guilt (58 percent)

"Agricultural communicators must be up to the challenge when campaigning against larger groups" in such campaigns, the authors observed.

You can read this research report here.


CowTime Shed Shake-up - a "timely," innovative extension success story. Seventy-four percent of Australian dairy farms that took part in a program to reduce milking time made changes within 6-8 weeks. Here are key elements described by Darold Klindworth and Diana Carr in the Extension Farming Systems Journal:

  • A research project identified helpful practices.
  • Forty-four Shed Shake-up events (called "Shorter Milking Secrets") provided tips via video, PowerPoint slides, verbal presentation and group discussion.
  • Producers received timers to take home to determine how long their slowest cows took to milk and how much time they spent milking their cows.
  • A random selection of producers was interviewed about six weeks later.

On average, the farms where changes were made saved 15-20 minutes per milking

You can read this journal article here.


Agricultural public relations entries invited.  May 1 is the deadline for entries in the Golden ARC Award program, sponsored by the Agricultural Relations Council.  Thirty-eight categories are available to recognize the work of members and nonmembers. These categories range from various types of campaigns to specific components ranging from traditional media releases to social media. ARC sponsors the program to recognize and promote excellence in agricultural public relations.

See further information here


Communicator activities approaching

April 17-21, 2010
"Between passion & pressure" 54th Annual Congress, International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) hosted by the Belgian Association of Agricultural Journalists at Ostend, Belgium.
Information: http://www.ifaj2010.org

April 21-23, 2010
"From America's Heartland to the Rest of the World." 2010 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.
Information: www.nama.org

April 26-29, 2010
XIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) in Montpellier, France. Organized by Agropolis International.
Information: http://iaald2010.agropolis.fr

May 4, 2010
Midwest Regional Design and Writing Workshop for members of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Takes place in West Des Moines, Iowa USA.
Information: Jennifer Bremer at jbremer@hpj.com

May 5-6, 2010
"Desert Discoveries." Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA.
Information: http://www.toca.org

June 14-17, 2010
"Meet us in St. Louis." Annual conference of the Association of Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in St. Louis, Missouri USA.
Information: http://www.aceweb.org/meetings/ace2010.html

July 24-28, 2010
"Rolling on the River, AMS Style." Ag Media Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota USA.
Information: www.agmediasummit.com


An ever-current insight about learning.  We close this issue of ACDC News with a Chinese proverb that associate Paul Hixson brought to our attention recently.  

Tell me and I forget.
Show me and I remember.
Involve me and I understand.

In sharing this ancient wisdom with us, Paul observed, "This particular saying surely would have resonated with those pioneer Extension workers who used the early field test demonstrations as one of their primary teaching methods, as well as those of us who've spent a career advocating more respect AND fuller, more active involvement for our students/audiences in the learning/discovery process."


Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to docctr@library.uiuc.edu.

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can't gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access.