ACDC News – Issue 08-05

Using the language of war in covering agriculture .  We recently added to the ACDC collection an article in Science Communication that included a case example of agricultural war language.  It involved an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United Kingdom.  Researchers found that a search of the Lexis-Nexis database using the keyword “war,” for example, identified 159 articles in national UK newspapers from March 20-30, 2001.  Here are other militaristic metaphors they found in media and other reporting:  Battle. Fight. Strikes. Killer. Marching. Enemy. Invasion. Foreign invader. Fortress mentality. Attack. Siege.

In this framing, authors noted, the handling of FMD was conceptualized as a war against an invisible and foreign enemy, the virus.  Veterinarians and farmers became soldiers. The animals were recast as enemies alongside the virus. Basically, authors found the language of war used consciously for definite political and ideological purposes.  “…it acted to mobilize, justify solutions, and exculpate government from responsibility and gave focus and mode of operation.  This is the classic war metaphor framing.”

Title: Metaphors and biorisks

Let’s banish “organic.” Businesses as organic. T-shirts as organic. Shampoo as organic. Computer software as organic. So maybe it is not surprising to see “organic” on the Lake Superior State University 2008 List of Banished Words. You may recall that wordsmiths at this Michigan university annually invite nominations of words to be “banished from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse and general uselessness.”

You can see the complete 2008 list – and add your own comments – at:

Getting a view of the core periodical literature in agricultural communications. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Information recently published an analysis of core periodical literature in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center here at the University of Illinois. Researcher Joe Zumalt identified more than 16,000 articles from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers and, now, their electronic equivalents.  Among his findings:

  • Periodical literature makes up 55 percent of the ACDC collection.
  • These articles, published between the 1850s and 2006, featured agriculture-related communicating in countries around the world. “The findings suggest that what began as a United States-based resource is becoming international in substantial ways.”
  • Between 1981 (when collecting began) and 2006, the total number of different periodicals represented in the collection grew more than five-fold, from 326 to 1,766.
  • Periodical literature of this field shows a continuing lack of centrality. In 2006, articles in the top 10 periodicals comprised only 37 percent of the total.
  • Findings reveal the “need to search across an extremely wide range of disciplines for the periodical literature of agricultural communications and provide helpful directions and guidelines for doing so.”

“The results of this study underscore the importance and value of the ACDC effort to identify and make available the widely scattered literature of agricultural communications,” he observed.

Posted at

Who would expect to find agricultural communications literature there? From time to time we can’t help sharing with you our adventure in collecting information about the communications aspects of agriculture.  Here are some unexpected journals to which our detective work has taken us during recent weeks:

  • Environmental Modeling and Software
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology
  • Ecological Economics
  • Social Work in Education
  • Annals of the Association of American Geographers
  • Social Science Computer Review
  • Journal of Sustainable Forestry
  • Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
  • Ecos
  • Health, Risk and Society

Local knowledge should be incorporated into formal studies of soils , argued A.G.C. Alves in an Interciencia article we added recently to the ACDC collection.  The author described how “many peasant and indigenous societies have created their own soil use strategies, having little or no contact with official research and rural communication agencies.  Management techniques used by these societies are mainly based on local knowledge systems.”  They encompass non-agricultural uses of soils (e.g., pottery making) as well as agricultural uses.

Alves observed that more studies about the interfaces between humans and the soils with which they work “could be an aid to the advancement of formal soil knowledge, also giving an opportunity to understanding and valuing local soil knowledge.”

The potentials seem relevant in any society.

Title: Local knowledge and soil use: an ethnopedological approach

Communicator activities approaching

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) in Johnston, Iowa USA.
Information:  Diane Johnson at or Den Gardner at
April 13-15, 2008
“Media relations made easy in HOTLANTA.”  Workshop of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Atlanta, Georgia USA.
April 16-18, 2008
“Leading the charge.”  2008 Agri-Marketing Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.
April 27-May 1, 2008
“In the pines.”  Annual National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) at the Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle Embassy Suites in Cary, North Carolina, USA.
June 10-13, 2008
“Talk to the hand.”  ACE ’08 conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences, in Traverse City, Michigan.  Information:
June 19-21, 2008
“Break from the gate in 2008.”  Seminar of American Horse Publications in Saratoga Springs, New York.
June 21-24, 2008
“Hook, line and sinker: restock your communications tacklebox.”  Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Portland, Maine.

Earthy evidence of information management .  We close this issue of ACDC News with a headline that caught our eye recently in a farm paper.  It may hold special interest for agricultural editors and extension communicators:

“Learn how to manage horse manure from MSU extension”

Oh, those modifier gremlins.

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.