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This international resource and service from the University of Illinois features concepts, issues, media and methods for human communications related to food and nutrition, farming and rural life, natural resources and the environment, renewable energy, natural fibers, rural development and other aspects of agriculture. Welcome to this interactive website and please check with us whenever we can help you identify and gather information.


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510 Funk ACES Library
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801 

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Jun 20, 2012

Issue 12-11

Seven new reports of agricultural communications research.

Use of new media, organizational branding and ways in which consumers gather information during a food safety incident got major attention during a recent communicator conference.

We are pleased to call attention to seven research reports that were presented on June 11 at the annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in Annapolis, Maryland. The Research Special Interest Group of ACE organized this session. You can click on titles to gain access to the abstracts, as well as names of the researchers and email addresses you can use to reach them.

Information flow (and gaps) in European pork supply networks.

A recent research report provides an aggregated overview of the kinds of information flowing through stages of feed production, pig production, slaughter and processing, and retail. Researchers Richard Lehmann, Melanie Fritz, and Gerhard Schiefer especially focused on information needs and gaps in three domains:

  • Food safety (representing the social dimensions of sustainability)
  • Quality (representing the economical dimensions)
  • Global warming potential (representing the environmental dimensions)

Their analysis prompted them to suggest specific kinds of information that needs to be provided in all four sectors of these pork supply networks in Europe.

You can read this conference paper from the 2011 International European Forum via AgEconSearch at: http://purl.umn.edu/122014

On a daily basis, farm radio and Internet are agri-media channels used most.

That finding came through in a recent national survey of U.S. farmers and ranchers. Ag Media Research developed the survey that was administered during late 2011 within a representative national sample of 1,504 farmers and ranchers with gross farm incomes of at least $100,000.

A news release we are adding to the ACDC collection indicated:

  • On a daily basis, farm radio and the Internet (accessed from home/office) were the two most-used agri-media channels.
  • For those choosing either radio or the Internet as their first choice, farm television was the preferred second daily information source.
  • Among information sources used at all (not specific to daily or any time frame), farm-title publications – newspapers and magazines – garnered the highest numbers.
  • Use of mobile Internet access – via hand-held devices including smart phones – engaged less than 25 percent of all surveyed producers.
  • Respondents expressed high levels of trust in their primary information providers. More than 60 percent reported tuning in to a specific radio station or stations for their farm information.

You can read the release at: https://www.library.illinois.edu/cms/funkaces/acdc/news/National_Association_of_Farm_Broadcasting.docx

Honored for communicating about food – by music.

We have added to the ACDC collection an announcement in AgriMarketing Weekly. It features an honored food specialist who uses music to communicate the importance of food and agricultural science to the public, policy makers, and the news media. Dr. Carl Winter, an extension specialist at the University of California-Davis, will receive the 2012 Borlaug CAST Communication Award during October at the World Food Prize Symposium.

He is cited for knowing how to use humor and music to communicate important messages about agriculture. Known as the “Elvis of E. coli,” he has given nearly 200 live performances of his food safety music parodies. He has also distributed more than 30,000 audio CDs and animated music DVDs. His food safety music website and YouTube page have attracted nearly one million visitors.

You can read the award announcement at: http://www.agrimarketing.com/s/75039

You can watch him explain his adventure in using music to help teach about food at: http://www.viddler.com/v/89e5bf06

You can visit his website and watch some of his food safety music at: http://foodsafe.ucdavis.edu

Needed: More focus on the culture of hunting.

A recent article in Human Dimensions of Wildlife emphasized that hunter education programs need to focus on more than hunting skills. A review of existing literature led authors Elizabeth Ryan and Bret Shaw to suggest greater emphasis on the unique values and benefits of hunting. The mentor/mentee relationship is particularly important in passing on the beliefs and qualities associated with hunting culture, they observed.

They cited literature suggesting that community-based mentoring programs can be especially effective. "Supporters of hunting who best understand the culture and the contributions that hunters make to their communities are poised to be the most effective proponents of hunting."

You can review the abstract of this journal article at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10871209.2011.559530#preview

Check with us at docctr@library.illinois.edu for help in scouting it for information that fits your interests.

Communicator activities approaching.

  • August 4-8, 2012
    “AMS/ABQ.” Agricultural Media Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA. A joint meeting of the Livestock Publications Council (LPC), American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA) and Agri Council of American Business Media. Also the annual meeting site of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Information: http://www.agmediasummit.com
  • August 15-19, 2012
    “Solutions for a green future.” 2012 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) near Stockholm, Sweden. Information: http://www.ifaj.org/congress2012.html
  • September 5-7, 2012
    Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) in Washington, D.C., USA. Information: http://www.afjonline.com/conference.cfm
  • September 20-23, 2012
    Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) in Winnipeg, Canada. A celebration of soil and water, the building blocks of agriculture. Information: http://cfwf2012.com
  • October 17-21, 2012
    “Big land. Big Sky. Big issues.” Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in Lubbock, Texas, USA. Information: http://www.sej.org/initiatives/sej-annual-conferences/AC2012-main

Perspective on getting educated.

We close this issue with a story from Tom Powell in Curing the cross-eyed mule: Appalachian mountain humor, a collection by Loyal Jones and Billy Edd Wheeler.

A young lawyer once asked Dr. Hector Barnett, our veterinarian, how much education he had. The old man stroked his chin and weighed his answer carefully before he replied. "Well, son, that depends on whether you're talkin' schoolin' or learnin'."

Best wishes 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