ACDC News – Issue 08-13

Issue 08-13

The price of privatized extension services. Privatization of extension services since the 1990s is having important “privatizing” effects, beyond the question of who pays. Evidence emerged in a conference paper we added recently. Pierre Labarthe and Ismaïl M. Moumouni found some shared North/South themes when they analyzed effects of privatization of extension services in the Netherlands and Benin.

  • In the Netherlands:  (a) Numbers of farmer groups decreased sharply, reducing the sharing of information among farmers. (b)  Linkages weakened between extension services and other organizations involved in agricultural knowledge systems and innovation. (c) In many cases, commercial extension companies invested neither time nor money in agronomic experiments to evaluate and improve local techniques and systems.
  • In Benin: (a) The number of farmers disconnected from the extension service increased considerably. (b) Many farmer contact groups disappeared, weakening connections for sharing information. (c) Increased conflict among farmer organizations “strongly damaged the collective generation, the sharing and circulation of agricultural information and knowledge.”

Posted at > Scroll to this research report.

Surprising results about attitudes toward climate change. The February issue of Risk Analysis included some unexpected results of research among a representative sample of Americans. Among the findings:

  • Respondents who were better informed about global warming felt less personally responsible for it – and less concerned about it.
  • Respondents with high confidence in scientists felt less responsible for global warming – and less concerned about it.
  • Trust in the media was unrelated to the sense of concern and responsibility for global warming.

Title: Personal efficacy, the information environment, and attitudes toward global warming and climate change

IFAJ invites views of agricultural journalists .  Planners of the 2008 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) are asking agricultural journalists all over the world to provide information for a special session.  Uschi Raser explains that the session will focus on this topic:

“To whom are agricultural journalists responsible?

Program planners have arranged to carry out an online survey.  Results will be presented at the Congress by Joschi Schillhab from the Opinion Research Center, Oekonsult. If you are an agricultural journalist you are invited to take part in the survey.  Go to:

The Congress will take place in Austria and Slovenia during September 10-14. You can learn more about it at .

What journalists in Mali consider most important about their work. We recently added to the ACDC collection a conference paper about a project in which agricultural communications faculty members helped strengthen the professional development of media specialists in the Republic of Mali, West Africa.

Feedback from 16 journalists revealed that they considered these aspects of their jobs most important:

  • Chance to influence public affairs
  • Chance to develop a specialty
  • Amount of “creative freedom” they have in reporting
  • Chance to help people

These aspects were considered more important than others such as job security, promotion, salary and benefits.  The report also identified journalists’ views about the importance of various functions of the news media, ethical issues journalists face and the role of free speech in a democracy.

Title: Developing press system

Posted at

New guidelines to help clear confusion about food terms .

“Fresh.” “Pure.” “Natural.” “Handmade.” “Quality.” “Selected.” “Premium.” The Food Standards Agency, an independent government department of the United Kingdom, has revised its guidance on the use of these and other marketing terms. Guidelines also involve business names, trademarks, photographs and illustrative representations on labels and in advertisements, leaflets and on web sites.

In addition, you will find (in Part 2, “General best practice advice”) four overarching principles for food marketers to consider and apply.

A news release about the revised guidelines is posted at

Details are available at:

Communicator activities approaching

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 1, 2008
Deadline for submission of papers for the Agricultural Communication Section of the 2009 conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists.
Information: > “Call for Papers for 2009 meeting”
October 2-4, 2008
“Growing beyond the ordinary.”  Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) to take place in Courtenay, British Columbia.

Describing what those tools really do. We might close by passing along a set of “Tool Descriptions” that John Otte of Farm Progress Companies called to our attention recently.  Here are a few samples:

  • Pliers:  Used to round off bolt heads.  Sometimes used in the creation of blood blisters.
  • Table Saw:  A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
  • Skil Saw:  A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
  • Tweezers:  A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.
  • Belt Sander: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
  • Two-Ton Engine Hoist:  A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

For reasons perhaps obvious we will not be entering this document into the ACDC collection. However, check with us at if you want to see the full set of descriptions.

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.