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Oct 2, 2012

Issue 12-16

Don't let ag media standards slip: a five-nation overview.

As a recent Nuffield Scholar, Caroline Stocks of the Farmers Weekly (UK) editorial staff set out to investigate whether there is a "best" way to communicate with farmers during this period of immense change. She learned plenty, according to the July 2011 report she presented to the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust after her visits in the UK, Canada, India, Australia, and USA. Her analysis ranged broadly across print media, online farm news, social media, and mobile technology. She concluded:

"… I do not think there is a 'one size fits all' solution. Farming media need to get better at knowing their audiences so they can tailor their output accordingly. They need to stop thinking their staff can do everything, identify niches, and concentrate on doing certain aspects really well. Agricultural journalists I met repeatedly told me of feeling like they were being spread too thinly—it leaves them disheartened that they are not doing their job properly and left feeling that they are letting farmers down."

She emphasized that agricultural media hold positions of trust in the farming community and "it is important they do not betray that position by letting the standards slip."

You can read her report on the Nuffield website at: http://www.nuffieldinternational.org/rep_pdf/1327226415Caroline_Stocks_edited_report.pdf


Seeking something between "industrial fast food" and "local slow cuisine."

Maybe the concept of "home cooking" can broaden our mental menu, according to anthropologist Richard Wilk of Indiana University. Apocalyptic predictions and simple dichotomies can easily dominate ideas about the future of food, he noted in Home Cooking in the Global Village. However, he sees no danger of losing culinary diversity. He identified several promising features of metaphorical "home cooking:"

  • Home cooking means a cuisine that is grounded in familiar, shared history; in common knowledge of places and people.
  • It is always concerned with quality, because the food is going to be eaten by people you care about.
  • In the context of home cooking, quality does not eliminate economic considerations; it is economical instead of wasteful.
  • The wellbeing of the family is the bottom line, and the goal is never just physical nutrition of the body, but instead the nourishment of the person.
  • A home is a particular place, but it is always a place where people raised in different families come together to form new traditions. These are handed across generations, not as hidebound rules but as assorted recipes and a set of values to guide a new family that will face a changing world.
  • Home cooking is humane, founded in the best aspects of social life, cooperation, generosity and compassion, willingness to work together even when it means sacrifice and compromise.

You can read some of his thoughts through IDEALS (Illinois Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship), University of Illinois, at: http://ww.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/3514


Overloaded with agricultural news?

"I can hardly keep up with them," an agricultural editor reported during a recent conversation. Email messages flood into her inbox at the rate of about 600 messages a day.

  • Is this typical of the email traffic with which you are dealing?
  • If so, how do you manage it?

Please let us know of your experiences with email and other digital messaging. Also, what tools, techniques, and tips might you pass along to other agricultural journalists and communicators? Along with you, we in ACDC will help identify ways to manage the traffic. Get in touch with us at: docctr@library.illinois.edu


Effective communicators in agriculture are better able to manage stress. More satisfied in their jobs, too.

Findings of new research involving 652 employees in the Agriculture Bank and Education Administrations of Iran suggest paying much attention to stress management and communications effectiveness, which can lead to greater job satisfaction. Communications effectiveness appeared as a strong mediator variable in his study we have added to the ACDC collection from the International Journal of Managing Information Technology. Authors noted that prior research has ignored the link between stress management, communications effectiveness, and job satisfaction.

You can read the journal article at: http://airccse.org/journal/ijmit/papers/3411ijmit01.pdf


TV viewing, outdoor play and obesity of rural and urban school children.

A survey involving 10,000 students in India revealed that rural children watched significantly less television than urban children. These findings, reported in the Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, also showed evidence of the impact of TV viewing on obesity in children in a district of Punjab. As well, inactive leisure pursuits such as video/computer games showed direct correlation with obesity. Authors recommended that outdoor playing should be encouraged and supported at home and at school.

You can read this article at: http://www.ojhas.org/issue34/2010-2-6.htm


Ah, the desire for food.

It tops the list of desires, according to a new article in Psychological Science. The article, "What people desire, feel conflicted about and try to resist in everyday life," reflected nearly 7,800 reports of desires logged by 205 adults in Germany during one week. Eating food was reported most frequently among the desires, although it was not reported as the strongest desire (sleep held that spot), nor did eating create in their minds the greatest conflict between desire and other goals (leisure topped that scale). Above-average rates if resistance were found for sleep, sex, leisure, spending, and eating.

Authors concluded that the average adult in this study spent about eight hours a day feeling desires, three hours resisting them and half an hour yielding to previously-resisted ones.

You can read the online version of this article at: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/27/0956797612437426


Communicator activities approaching

  • October 15, 2012
    Deadline for research and professional papers to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section, Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) meeting, February 2-5, 2013, at Orlando, Florida USA. Information: Frankie Gould at: FGould@agcenter.lsu.edu or 225-578-5679.
  • 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
  • October 23-24, 2012
    Food Integrity Summit in Chicago, Illinois USA. A forum on ethics, values and trust, giving food system stakeholders opportunity to address the fundamental challenge of building trust in today's food. Strategic partners: International Food Information Council and National Restaurant Association. Information: http://www.foodintegrity.org/events/2012-summit
  • October 24, 2012
    Food and Agriculture Messaging Summit: Creating Movements and Taking Action. A supplemental seminar about putting food-related research into action, Chicago, Illinois USA. Hosts: U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, Center for Food Integrity and International Food Information Council. Information: http://www.fooddialogues.com/usfra-research-summit
  • November 2, 2012
    Deadline for research posters and innovative-idea posters to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section, Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) meeting, February 2-5, 2013, in Orlando, Florida USA. Information: Prof. Chris Morgan at: acm@uga.edu or 706-542-7102.
  • November 7-9, 2012
    "Our rich heritage: A bridge to the future." Annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information: http://www.nafb.com
  • November 26, 2012
    Deadline for submitting papers for the 12th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, May 19-22, 2-013. Organized by Working Group 9.4 of the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP). Information: http://www.ifipwg94.org/ifip-conference-2013

Signing off with beautiful rural music.

We close this issue of ACDC News with a late-summer conversation from the 1930s.

A farmer and his wife lived near the village church. One warm Sunday evening, while they sat dozing on the porch, the crickets set up a loud chirping.

"I just love to hear the chirping noise," said the husband drowsily, and before the crickets had stopped he was fast asleep.

Soon after, the church choir broke out into a beautiful chant.

"Just listen to that," exclaimed his wife.  "Isn't that beautiful?"

"Yes," he murmured sleepily. "They do it with their hind legs."


Best wishes and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC. 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