ACDC News – Issue 08-01

Happy New Year and welcome to this first 2008 issue of news from the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center.

We are still like kids in a candy story .  “Are you finding much literature about agricultural journalism and communications?” friends sometimes ask.  We nod vigorously, then shake our heads in amazement at all we see from so many sources. As the new year begins this collection is approaching 31,500 documents involving agriculture-related communicating in 170 countries.  And we are hardly scratching the surface of this rich body of knowledge and experience.

Thanks for your encouragement and support. The Center has no huge budget.  But it has an increasingly important mission and valuable resource, a dedicated staff – and the inspiration of you who use the collection and help strengthen it.  We look forward to a new year of identifying information that helps you communicate effectively and grow professionally in this dynamic field of interest.  And we look forward to being in touch with you.

A fresh look at the creative side of rural communicating. You can get a fresh view of rural communicating in Gene Logsdon’s new book, The mother of all arts: agrarianism and the creative impulse .  It’s not the typical book about art.  It’s from a seasoned, articulate agricultural journalist and writer.  And perspectives in it about farm magazines, rural radio, country music, and agrarian writing and art will ring a bell for many who read ACDC News.

Something deep in agriculture and rural culture stirs the creative impulse, Logsdon argues, and he tracks some of the forms it takes.  He sees signs of a new agrarianism “that will flower as the Industrial Revolution ebbs away,” an agrarian instinct he finds latent in all of society.

Title: The mother of all arts

Survey shows an upheaval in eating patterns. A 2007 survey among consumers in Montreal, Canada, revealed that 92 percent had changed their eating habits because of risks or benefits associated with food.

“Compared to 2004, the results this year show a significant increase in food stress in connection with the risk associated with certain foods,” according to the head of the nutrition counseling firm ISA, which sponsored the survey.  Food stress is measured by adding up the decisions not to buy or not to eat a food product when it is associated with one of 10 risks identified on a measurement scale.

“On average, 2007 respondents had made 8.5 changes in their eating habits in relation to the 10 risks and 10 benefits identified on the measurement scale.”

Title: Recent survey on food stress

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“I’m sure the meter on it must be faulty,” wrote UK farmer Hugh Broom in a tongue-in-cheek commentary we have added to the ACDC collection from Farmers Weekly . He was referring to his mobile phone.

“Depressingly, in the past year, according to the screen, I have spent 1250 hours using it. … Even at 1000 minutes a month it works out at 8 days a year on the phone – that’s like a week away in another country and it’s not even booked as holiday.”

“So does all this connectivity make life easier or just more cluttered and stressful?”

Title: Mobile phone mayhem

Tips for biological scientists in working with media. The American Society of Plant Biologists offered tips in a web feature we have added to the ACDC collection. A few samples:

  • Calls from journalists merit top priority.  “I will drop everything to talk to the press,” said a media workshop coordinator, Peggy Lemaux.
  • Have a goal in mind for the interview and deliver a focused message.
  • Be ready to answer questions on your research such as “What does it matter?”
  • Information is not generally considered off the record if the off-the-record request is made after the scientist’s actual comment.
  • Do not repeat misleading terms if a reporter uses them in a question.

Title: Accessing the media and Congress

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IFAJ Executive to consider strategic plans. Executive Committee members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists will consider strategies for moving the organization forward when they meet January 16-19 in Berlin, Germany. A report in AgroNews (Schweizer Landwirtschaft, Switzerland) briefly described a strategy paper, “IFAJ 2015,” to be used.  It will focus on globalization, development of services for members, potential updating of the web site, staffing needs and support for agricultural journalism in developing countries.  Thanks to treasurer Markus Rediger for providing this report.

Title: Agrarjournalisten wollen professioneller werden

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Other rural communicator activities approaching
February 3-4, 2008
Agricultural Communications Research Papers to be presented at the 2008 conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Dallas, Texas, USA.
February 13-15, 2008
“Experience ICT Africa.”  Continental information and communications technologies conference sponsored by the NEPAD Council (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
March 6-7, 2008
Meeting of the Midwest Region of Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) with the Missouri Association of Publication (MAP) Summit in Columbia, Missouri, USA.
Information: Tammy Simmons at
March 9-15, 2008
“Global entrepreneurship: the role of international agricultural and extension education.” Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) at E.A.R.T.H. University, Costa Rica.
April 10, 2008
“The nuts and bolts of ag communication.”  Midwest Regional Design and Writing Workshop hosted by the Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) at Johnston, Iowa, USA.
Information:  Diane Johnson at or Den Gardner at

Do we dare begin the year with a wrap-up as bad as this? Well, yes. In closing this issue of ACDC News we thank Hal Taylor for alerting us to these insights. They may hold special interest for rural communicators:

  • When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
  • To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  • If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
  • Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

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 communication 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,

When you see interesting items you cannot find locally or online , get in touch with us. Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

And please let us know if you would rather not receive ACDC News . As Year 2008 begins, we want to tell you how much we appreciate your interest in this complimentary electronic newsletter. We hope it is helpful, interesting and convenient for you. However, we do not want to send something to you that you would rather not receive. So at any time, please let us know if you would like to be removed from the list. You can do so by contacting us at the Documentation Center: . Also let us know if your e-mail address changes.

Other possible subscribers you might suggest? Let us know of – or refer us to – associates or other persons you think might like to receive online alerts to future issues of ACDC News.