ACDC News – Issue 08-02

“Co-op Kids” featured in a creative photo calendar .  Thanks to the Cooperative Communicators Association for alerting us to a creative project of the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.  A popular calendar features this winning combination:

  • Portraits or candid photos
  • entered by customers, members or employees
  • featuring children
  • at special events or in everyday farm activities
  • sporting their Co-op colors or
  • displaying Co-op feed products or
  • showing off their favorite pets or farm animals

You can view winning entries, by month, in the 2008 calendar.  It was announced in the December 2007 issue of Tennessee Cooperator .

Posted at: Proceed to page 27.

Second series of “Kill it, cook it, eat it” airs on BBC Three . A second television series in the United Kingdom about how farm animals make their way to the dining table aired on BBC Three Digital during January.  This time the producers focused on young animals:  veal, milk-fed lambs, kid goats and suckling pigs.  According to the BBC description:

“The programme asks how these animals are raised, where they come from, and how they’re killed and gutted.  Should taste take priority over the welfare of the animal?  And, ultimately how young is too young when it comes to eating baby animals?”

Thanks to Joe Watson and Don Gomery of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists for alerting us to this series, which reportedly stirred thousands of e-mails from viewers. The programs are available to play online only in the UK.

Among sources of information about the series:

What motivates growers involved in community supported agriculture .  An article in HortTechnology identified goals that motivate growers to take part in CSA, an alternative model of farming in which consumers contract to receive a share of food harvests.

CSA growers are motivated by multiple goals, according to researcher E. C. Worden.  Marketing was the goal mentioned most often, followed by interest in educating consumers.  Community wellbeing and environmental interests also motivated these growers.  The marketing motive was found to be “not solely monetary, but also philosophical” in the sense of achieving right livelihood and strengthening society’s relationships among (a) consumers, (b) the food they eat and (c) the land from which it comes.

Title: Grower perspectives in community supported agriculture

How to tap into one of the largest collections of agricultural information. A recent article in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists newsletter, IFAJ News , offered tips to agricultural journalists for gathering information from AGRIS. It is the online database of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. As such it can become your doorway to a collection of more than two million documents. Joe Zumalt, ACDC coordinator and librarian here at the University of Illinois, outlined step-by-step procedures, using sample topics.

Title: AGRIS: an FAO information resource for the agricultural journalist

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Popcorn processing risk kept quiet? We have added to the ACDC collection a recent article from OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Watch about a health risk that the organization believes federal regulatory agencies have known for years and kept silent.  This risk involves use of diacetyl, a flavoring added to many types of food, including artificial butter flavoring in microwave popcorn.  It is linked to a debilitating disease, “popcorn workers lung.”

The article described lack of action by federal agencies and reported on unsuccessful efforts of media to gain access to information about research by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Title: Federal agencies knew of diacetyl dangers and kept silent

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Communications – missing link in participatory agricultural research? Much has been written about benefits when farmers work with scientists in planning and carrying out agricultural research.  A recent article in Appropriate Technology highlighted need for stronger communications in such efforts.  It explained how scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) carried out crop research with farmers in a region of southern Mexico. Among the findings reported:

  • “Interaction with farmers provided maize breeders with invaluable information on the traits that are of local importance.”
  • “Farmers, in turn, learnt about maize production and post-harvest storage.”
  • “However…while the participatory research benefited scientists, only a relatively small number of farmers actually benefited directly.”

Findings called for research organizations to work closely with local outreach organizations, which are better placed to link farmers and researchers by virtue of their long-term, continuing contact.

Title: Participatory research: a catalyst for greater impact

Rural communicator activities approaching
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 6-8, 2008
“Close-up look at agriculture in transition.”  Meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) at Research Triangle Park, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, USA.
Information:  Carroll Merry at or 262-253-6902
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

I am the journalist .  We close this issue of ACDC News with a creed published in the June/July 2007 issue of Quill magazine.  This creed does not focus specially on agricultural journalism, but surely includes our field of interest.  Frank Crane is credited with expressing it during the early 1900s. We have taken the liberty of refining gender aspects.

I am the journalist.
I do not judge.  I record.
I do not praise or blame.  I tell.
The ethics of my profession may be told in one word – truth.
No one can buy my light.
No one can buy my silence

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 .

When you see interesting items you cannot find locally or online , get in touch with us. We will help you gain access.