ACDC News – Issue 08-03

An eye-opener: communications (and trust) in complex agricultural  networks. Supply chain management has emerged as a concept for coordinating functions and actions of companies throughout value chains. Seldom have we seen such a graphic portrayal of the complexities of supply chain management than in a recent analysis by Tobias Hausen and Melanie Fritz, University of Bonn, Germany.  And seldom have we seen so clearly how effective communicating is pivotal to the success of it.

Authors describe a supply network involved in production of crops such as grain or produce.  Not only is the network incredibly complex.  It also is characterized by:

  • Unforeseeable changes in demand
  • Long lead times for production of inputs
  • A fragmented tree structure for flow of materials
  • System breakdowns that cause inefficient flows of material and information

“Several key areas of the network are in need for better communication and collaboration between network participants,” the authors observed.  And calls for information exchanges within such networks are revealing lack of trust among companies.

Title: Supply chain management in the life science sector

Posted at: > Conduct title search

What’s the difference between a barn cat and a house cat? How many eggs does a chicken lay in one day? Do pigs scratch their backs?  These and other questions from youngsters get addressed in an educational video series, “On the Farm,” from an award-winning educator, farmer, videographer and producer in upstate New York. Chris Fesko’s video series has earned more than 20 awards, including the Parent’s Choice 2002 Silver Honor Award.

Title: Do pigs scratch their backs?

Information at:

Should we now be thinking of Development 2.0? Chris Addison raised that question in a journal article about the emerging range of facilities and innovations in web-based and internet services. Web logs.  Wikis.  Newsreaders.  Swikki.  Social bookmarking.  Dgroups. The author described use of new technologies such as these, then addressed other implications for development work.  For example:

  • What used to be a three-year assignment for technical assistance on a development projects may become brief visits supplemented by Web 2.0 tools.
  • A development project that used to depend on ground transportation may get handled with a web site, a Dgroup and a computer.
  • New web applications are being used for dialogue, research, publishing and other aspects of development projects.

“How profoundly is the development of communications, and in particular the Internet, changing the development community and the way in which it works?” Addison asked.

Title: Web 2.0: a new chapter in development in practice?

About a delicate dance. Effective communicating is at the heart of healthy, long-term relationships between land owners and land operators, according to an article in Corn and Soybean Digest .  Reporter Karen Bernick identified suggestions for operators:

  • Keep lines of communication open
  • Be a good steward (e.g., controlling weeds, fertilizing appropriately)
  • Know what is important to each landlord
  • Show you care
  • Be fair

Title: A delicate dance

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“Freelance benefit program.” An oxymoron? That question came to mind when we saw the title of freelancer Claudette Lacombe’s article.  It appeared in the September 2007 issue of “The Farm Journalist,” newsletter of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation.  What benefit program for a freelancer?

Actually, Claudette has found a remarkable benefit that fits right in with her writing about water management issues in rural Alberta.  The article reports how she has turned her yard into an urban xeriscape demonstration project.  It also identifies a variety of benefits she – and others – are gaining from it.

Title: Freelance benefit program

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Special thanks to John Brien of Australia, for contributing to the ACDC collection nearly a dozen new documents that help reveal his productive scholarship of more than 50 years.  They are part of a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland (his second doctorate, actually).  The thesis title is “Research contributions in agricultural extension and communication.”

This thesis contains 16 selected presentations, reports and books dated between 1969 and 1988.  We previously had some of his materials in the ACDC collection and are delighted to add 11 more from this thesis. They reflect the valuable contributions of a respected scholar.  You can identify them by conducting an Author search (Brien) on the ACDC search page.  Let us know if you would like to gain access to them.

Any favorite journalism films – with a rural touch? The Commonwealth Press Union reported recently that subscribers to the online Small Newspaper Information Exchange had discussed their favorite journalism films. They identified more than 50 films.

Do you have any favorite journalism-related films that, in some way, involve rural life, people or activities?  Your nominations can come from any era – any region or country.

Please send the title(s) and we will report back to all about this important type of agricultural communicating. Reply to us at .

Communicator activities approaching

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

More rural computer language. We close this issue of ACDC News with several out-on-the-web computer terms about surviving those rural winter chills.

Hard drive:  Getting home in the wintertime
Download:  Getting the firewood off the truck
Ram:  The thing that spits firewood
Log off:  Cooling the wood stove down
Windows:  What to shut when it’s cold outside

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.