ACDC News – Issue 09-01

“The calf rarely brands itself.” A recent article in Economic Development Journal used that rural analogy to caution readers about the popular concept of branding.

“What others say about you – not what you say about yourself – will build your brand,” author Andy Levine emphasized. He offered four other “against-the-grain recommendations to consider and share with the ‘powers that be’ within your community.”

  1. Be different – really different.
  2. A logo is NOT a strategy.
  3. Find the right balance between the external customer and the internal customer.
  4. The single, over-arching brand with a single, coordinated marketing message consistently fails.

Citation: The calf rarely brands itself
Posted at

Congratulations to pioneering agricultural communications students. A news report from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, announced graduation during December of the first class of students in a new agricultural communications diploma program. Seven graduates completed this 16-month, five-course program. It was offered by distance through the Ontario Agricultural College and the Office of Open Learning. Owen Roberts served as academic coordinator.

Citation: First University of Guelph agricultural communications students graduate
Information about the program is posted online at

Really managing information to market specialized farm products. Niche production and marketing is moving to a higher level and well-managed information is a vital ingredient for progress.

“…a lack of reliable information at all stages along the supply chain is a severe limitation to the development of differentiated products, in spite of the existence of modern information technology,” explained the authors of a recent article in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture . These researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture ( Cali, Colombia) and University of Klagenfurt ( Austria) described a prototype internet-based information system for high value agricultural products. Known as the Coffee Information System (CINFO), it provides information about:

  • The production environment and practices used by coffee growers in individual management units.
  • The quality of individual lots of coffee.
  • Movement of coffee from the individual lots along the supply chain to end users.

“The initial results already indicate tangible benefits for all members of the supply chain and hence the future potential of CINFO or similar platforms,” these authors reported.

Citation: Information and its management for differentiation of agricultural products
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Rural citizens without broadband – less access to public services. Recent research in Montana revealed civic disadvantages facing rural residents that lack access to broadband telecommunications services. Researcher Richard S. Wolff of Montana State University identified problems arising from lack of broadband services in rural Montana counties, as compared with metro counties. Disadvantages included lack of online access for:

  • Completion and submission of permit applications, business licenses
  • Requests for local government records
  • Requests for government services, such as pothole repair
  • Forms that can be downloaded for manual completion (e.g., voter registration)
  • Council agendas and minutes
  • Employment information and applications

Thanks to Steve Shenton, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, for calling attention to this resource.

Citation: Citizen access to democracy hurting in rural America
Posted at:

Remarkable view of communications consulting abroad . We are grateful to Dr. K. Robert Kern for contributing to the ACDC collection a copy of his new memoir, At Work in the Wider World: A Memoir of Work and Travel on Five Continents . It describes his experiences working abroad in 46 countries between early 1945 and late 2002. Many of those experiences took place after he retired from an active career at Iowa State University, much of it in agricultural extension communications.

His consulting work often centered on analyzing and helping strengthen communications in local, national and international programs of agricultural research and development. It offers the most vivid, detailed account we can recall having seen about life, travels and experiences of an agricultural communications consultant working abroad.

Citation: At work in the wider world

What’s that again? Encouraging farmers to protect their hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most frequent self-reported occupational illness or injury in the U.S., according to a recent article in the Journal of Applied Communication Research . Authors reported that an estimated 10 percent of U.S. farm workers are exposed to high-risk noise levels.

This research report identifies some useful guidelines for communicating with farmers, landscapers and other rural workers about protecting their hearing.

Citation: Using the EPPM to create and evaluate the effectiveness of brochures
Available for online purchase via > Search on title

Communicator activities approaching

January 19, 2009
Deadline for submitting abstracts for presentations at the 7th World Congress of Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources to take place June 22-24 in Reno, Nevada USA.

January 20-22, 2009
Knowledge “Share Fair” to showcase examples of good knowledge sharing practices in agricultural development and food security. Hosted by five international agencies and held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy.

April 15-17, 2009
“Hot ideas and sizzling solutions.” 2009 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

Where’s the colorful rural language these days? Columnist Lee Pitts raised that issue in a recent commentary in Farm World . He observed that with “all the political correctness running rampant in our society, I think the writing in our world has greatly deteriorated.”

  • For example, in the wild, wild West people weren’t put to sleep or laid to rest. “They bit the dust, went on their last roundup or circled the drain.”
  • When western writers described a bucking bronc sending the rider asunder they didn’t say the horse received a negative feedback loop. “…they said the cowboy chewed gravel or kissed the ground.”
  • “If the cowboy of yesteryear fell in love, he wasn’t emotionally involved; he got Cupid’s cramps or calico fever.”
  • “Some agrarian product specialists (farmers) are not in a drought but only in a water deficit situation. I bet that cheers them up.”

You get the idea. Please pass along to us any other examples of what Pitts described as “painting every word with a different color.” Send them to

Citation: Adjectives in the old days

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.