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ACDC News

Oct 19, 2011

Issue 11-16

New media - new life for rural radio. Rural radio can dramatically boost knowledge and adoption, especially within active rather than passive listening communities. That's what Kevin Perkins, executive director of Farm Radio International, reported during his presentation at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress in Canada during September. Findings came from research among rural listeners in five African nations.

And how are cell phones and the Internet affecting rural radio?  They are making radio more interactive, Perkins explained.  "The new media are giving new life to radio."

You can view his presentation visuals here.

Also, you can view a report of five case studies about "active listening communities" and how they boosted the uptake of agricultural improvements.  Please send us at

docctr@library.uiuc.edu other examples you have seen, as well as your thoughts about how to form active listening communities in any country.


Find wording better than "integrated pest management." Communicators need to side-step that terminology when working with non-professional gardeners or the general public. That's the message from results of recent research among urban California residents.  Only 4.9 percent of the respondents had heard the term, "integrated pest management or the "IPM" abbreviation. Researchers advised:

"…the alternative terms given by respondents suggest that a more effective term for IPM should have a more descriptive context and should reflect the expressed desire of many respondents not to harm the environment, people or pets."


How European experts view traceability of foods and ingredients. A recent British Food Journal article reported on research among European food risk managers to assess the advantages and disadvantages of traceability.  Through a two-round Delphi technique, experts identified nine advantages on which more than 50 percent agreed. Topping that list was the advantage of accurately tracing products if a safety incident occurs. 

Managers identified three disadvantages on which more than 50 percent agreed:

  • Varied accuracy of traceability between links in the chain
  • Administration and paperwork required
  • Limited reliability of the system used. 

You can gain access to this article, "Experts' perspectives on the implementation of traceability in Europe," from the publisher here.


In an epidemic - putting video presentations onto the Web quickly.  Extension crop specialist Steven Johnson and associates in Maine wanted to respond quickly when epidemics of potato and tomato late blight hit the northeastern U.S. during the 2009 growing season.  Many farmers and gardeners were not prepared for this widespread and devastating disease.  We have added to the ACDC collection Johnson's report about how he quickly created a seven-minute playable voiced-over presentation that was posted to the Web. 


Creative way to publish a rural community newspaper.  Residents of Blackall, a small agricultural community in Queensland, Australia, lost their newspaper in 2001.  Instead of giving up, though, they assembled a team that resurrected the Barcoo Independent. Their innovative approach involved:

  • Local editorial control
  • A digital publishing system based 735 kilometers away
  • College journalism students (also located away from the community) using digital technologies to help gather, write and provide news for the paper

You can read the abstract of a case report about this project in the journal, Convergence.  Check with us at docctr@library.illinois.edu for help in gaining full-text access.


A link is a contract you make with your users.  That is a guideline for managing websites effectively.  But our online search for agricultural communications information reveals how often it's not followed.  For example, here's our recent experience in trying to retrieve nine references for which live links were provided in the online proceedings of a 2004 international conference.  None of the nine links provided access to those references.

Sometimes content on a website simply gets removed or lost. Sometimes it is moved from the main page to a more permanent home elsewhere in the site.  "This is bad practice, but extremely common," ACDC associate Gemma Petrie explains. 

Such experience with ephemeral web content supports our belief that ACDC has an important role to play in:

  • Helping capture and archive valuable online information about agricultural journalism and communications
  • Assuring that it can be available during the decades ahead

What experiences have you had with this problem?  What ideas and suggestions might you offer for avoiding or addressing it?  Send them to us at docctr@library.uiuc.edu


Communicator activities approaching

  • November 9-11, 2011
    "Insight for agriculture…every day."  Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri. Information: www.nafb.com
  • November 9-12, 2011
    "Innovative approaches for agricultural knowledge management: global extension experiences."  Conference of the International Society of Extension Education, New Delhi, India. Information:  http://inseeworld.com/conference.htm
  • November 15-18, 2011
    "Innovations in extension and advisory services."  International conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  Sponsored by a variety of national, regional and international partners. Information:  http://extensionconference2011.cta.int

"Bless the farm journals."  We close this issue of ACDC News with a tribute to the farm press.  A government official expressed it during August, 1932 - and we think the essence of it continues to resonate today, globally:

"Bless the farm journals.  I take a lot of them and I read them all.  It is a great relief to turn from my daily paper, filled as it is with robberies, murders and the exploitation of human folly, to the columns of these farm papers, filled with reading as pure as the running brooks and as full of meat as a coconut is full of milk.  We owe much to the progressive, up-to-date farm press."

We welcome your thoughts on this front.  Please send them to us at docctr@library.illinois.edu


Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. 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 Comm Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to docctr@library.illinois.edu.