ACDC News – Issue 08-12

New evidence of need for food manufacturers to protect their brands. A report from Food Product Design summarizes survey findings by Deloitte, New York, that food safety fears have escalated of late.  Here are signs of need identified through this nationally representative survey during April among U. S. consumers:

  • 57% said they have stopped eating a particular food, temporarily or permanently, as a result of a recent recall.
  • 75% are more concerned about the foods they eat than they were five years ago.
  • 78% are most concerned by beef recalls; 67% by chicken recalls; 53% by fresh fruit and vegetable recalls; and 58% by dairy recalls.
  • 89% would like to see food stores sell more fruits and vegetables that come from local farms.

“Food manufacturers may consider taking a total approach to ensure the safety of their brands, all the way from the farm, to the supply chain, the store shelves, and even the consumer’s pantry,” observed Deloitte executive Pat Conroy.

Title: Survey illustrates consumer food-safety fears

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Food – not like cell phones in the minds of consumers. The new European Union member states or transition economies need structured dialogue between science and society, according to a 2008 journal article added to the ACDC collection.  Writing in Trends in Food Science and Technology , D. Bánáti emphasized how consumers require much more information, precaution and patience about their daily foodstuffs and health than about new technologies such as cell phones.  The article includes guidelines for improving risk communications in European settings and advises helping agricultural ethics “find its proper place in the system of modern ethics.”

Title: Fear of food in Europe?

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TV chefs boosting interest in free-range poultry production. A recent article we have added from Scotland on Sunday reports that demand has doubled for birds reared in less intensive conditions.  The British Poultry Council (BPC), which represents producers, says a television series by chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped spark that demand. Earlier this year the chefs aired a television series “which highlighted appalling conditions in giant broiler chicken production farms in England.”

Some of Scotland’s leading producers are meeting this demand by turning to more natural, free-range production.  “Producers are reacting to that [demand] and that is good news for consumers,” said BPC Executive Officer Jeremy Blackburn.

Title: TV chefs spark boom

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Farm readers (and advertisers) tuning into online video . “Online video a win-win” is the title of a recent article in AgriMarketing magazine. Author Ryan Hunt of Meredith Corporation observed that “broadband video streams are no longer nifty extras or at work time-wasters.  Video is quickly becoming a useful, valuable standard of Web content.”

According to the article, a recent survey found that 95% of Agriculture Online’s user panel members have watched an online video.  And thousands of visits have been posted since November when Agriculture Online introduced AGOL-TV, which houses every video that has been featured.  The article reports that advertisers as well as farmers are connecting with this new venue.

Title: Online video a win-win

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Signs of trouble in use of the Farmer Field School approach. Mark Schut and Stephen Sherwood of the Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands, found erosion of the Farmer Field School concept in three Ecuador case studies.  The FFS approach to providing information for farmers is known for being farmer-centered, problem-based and oriented to self-discovery.

“Despite much enthusiasm over early results, eight years later we observed that professionals and their institutions apply the FFS approach in diverse and contradictory ways,” the authors reported in a recent journal article. Findings revealed a shift to more conventional, technology-centered designs.

Title: FFSs in translation: scaling up in name, but not in meaning

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Communicator activities approaching

July 26-30, 2008
“10th anniversary Ag Media Summit.”  Joint meeting of American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC), ABM Agri-Council, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and Ag Relations Council (ARC).
August 24-27, 2008
“World Conference on Agricultural Information and Information Technology” in Tokyo, Japan.  Co-coordinated by the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD).
September 10-14, 2008
“From the mountains to the sea.”  2008 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) to take place in Austria and Slovenia.
October 2-4, 2008
“Growing beyond the ordinary.”  Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) to take place in Courtenay, British Columbia.

Budding novelists with rural interests show their stuff. It’s time again to recognize exceptional rural writing talent identified in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  In constant search of such talent, we monitor this international literary parody contest that challenges entrants to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Here are a couple honored examples from the 2007 contest. It is sponsored by the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University:

Winning entry – Western Literature (from Glenn Lawrie, Chungnam, South Korea)

  • “The easy and comforting roll of the saddle was second nature to Luke, and as he gazed off into the distant setting sun, he wondered whether he had enough change for one more ride at the supermarket before he had to return home.”

Runner-up – Children’s Literature (Julie Jensen, Lodi, California)

  • “Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was Polartec 200 (thanks to gene splicing, a diet of force-fed petrochemical supplements, and regular dips in an advanced surface fusion polymer), which had the fortunate side effect of rendering it inedible, unlike that other Mary’s organic lamb which misbehaved at school and wound up in a lovely Moroccan stew with dried apricots and couscous.”

You can see other inspiring 2007 entries at .

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 .

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can’t gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching.  We will help you gain access.