Rediscovering agricultural advisory (extension) services . “After a period of neglect, agricultural advisory services have returned strongly to the international development agenda,” according to Jock R. Anderson of the World Bank. In a background paper for World Development Report 2008 , he said he considers it “highly appropriate” to acknowledge the roles and challenges of an effective evolution of agricultural advisory services in the coming decades.
What new functions for extension might we expect? Anderson cited several beyond the conventional function of providing knowledge for improved agricultural productivity:
- Linking smallholder farmers to high-value and export markets
- Promoting environmentally sustainable production techniques
- Coping with the effects of HIV/AIDS and other health challenges that affect agriculture
Posted at: www.worldbank.org
New source of grammar hints . More than two dozen grammar hints are now available online from the Writing Special Interest Group of ACE (Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences). Topics range from informal spelling and “the forgotten semicolon” to accuracy of online language translation services. These hints, generated during the past three years, were posted online in December.
Six reasons to celebrate Ag Day. As National Agriculture Day approaches on March 20, the Agriculture Council of America offers six reasons for recognizing – and celebrating – it. They are described briefly in an article, “The importance of ag literacy,” we added recently to the ACDC collection.
You can read the reasons at: www.agday.org/education/celebrate.php
Why is it taking so long to build bridges between formal and informal science?
Professor Anil Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, asked that question in a 2007 commentary we have added to the ACDC collection. He emphasized how bridging the gap between scientific research and local solutions could be beneficial, citing examples of effective traditional solutions practiced by local farmers. Several reasons may account for this gap, he observed:
- Scientists often question the value of traditional knowledge.
- Peer pressure may push them and their students to focus on high-impact research with wide visibility and more potential for career advancement.
- A bias towards chemical-intensive technologies may exist, and researchers may be put off by differing protocols for validating non-chemical innovations.
- Local innovators and holders of traditional knowledge have feeble, fragmented and easily-ignored influence on policies that might help bridge the gap.
The author identified several communications-based measures to help bridge this gap in any part of the world.
Several favorite journalism films with a rural touch . In response to a recent call for favorites, we are pleased to pass along these recommended favorites:
- Country (with Jessica Lange). It is “another movie that’s interesting but bleak. Tie-in with farm market reports.”
- Year of Living Dangerously. “Not rural per se but an excellent journalism movie.”
- State Fair (original version). “Loved the family’s excitement in their trip to the Iowa State Fair…and the friendly competition at the livestock exhibit.”
- Sweetland. “Gritty and romantic tale of rural Minnesota life.”
What others might you add to the list? Send them by return e-note. Thanks.
See the 2008 winners in Geographical photo competition . Twelve winners are featured in the February issue of Geographical , official magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, UK. You can view a gallery of honored photos that were selected from more than 1,000 entries from all over the world. Categories include people and culture, wildlife, landscape, travel and environmental issues. You will see some outstanding rural photos among them.
More cooperation – less conflict – in ground water planning. If you are involved in communicating about water use you may find interest in a recent article that confirms and describes the vital role you can play. Authors Vincent C. Tidwell and Cors van den Brink noted how access to ground water can often be contentious. Scientists can contribute to planning efforts in terms of technical feasibility. But communicators can help provide the vital connecting link – “a process for inclusive and transparent sharing of ideas.” Authors described two examples illustrating how “cooperative modeling” processes can lead to successful ground water plans. These processes involve shared, adaptive learning/communications.
Communicator activities approaching
What’s this about upheavals? Thanks to Don Schwartz who caught an interesting twist on a recent headline in ACDC News: “Survey shows an upheaval in eating patterns.”
He asked: “‘upheaval’ – re a food story?”
“Could have been worse,” he added, passing along these headlines we are sure no rural journalists wrote:
- “New study of obesity looks for larger test group”
- “Kids make nutritious snacks”
- “Cold wave linked to temperatures”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
When you see interesting items you cannot find locally or online , get in touch with us. We will help you gain access.