ACDC News – Issue 09-05

Experimental model for hyperlocal rural community journalism. The Forum , a citizen-driven news website that serves several rural communities in New Hampshire, is the focus of a report we added recently to the ACDC collection. With part-time paid editors and more than a hundred volunteer authors, “the content of the audience-driven Forum reflects the communities it serves.” Founders launched this not-for-profit enterprise under the auspices of the “friends” group of a local library.

You can read a case study of operations and outcomes in a report from the Beckman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Citation: The Forum
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Internet access in rural China. We recently added to the ACDC collection a book by Jinqiu Zhao, The Internet and rural development in China: the socio-structural paradigm. The author’s research provided empirical evidence about the impact of the Internet on the livelihood of rural people. It also identified some innovative uses of the Internet in rural development.

Experiences in four rural places indicated that “the existing economy and infrastructure of the rural areas can hardly sustain the adoption of an advanced technology as the Internet, whose diffusion at these rural places is by no means a natural development. While farmers may have individual choices in selecting the traditional means of communication for information about the market, scientific farming, health and other issues, the Internet as an advanced technology could only be introduced to them through either a government initiative…or an external investment.”

Citation: The Internet and rural development in China

Agricultural data mining – 164 years back. Reports added recently to the ACDC collection described some incredible agricultural reporting. “Documenting Louisiana Sugar 1845-1917,” a project at the University of Sussex (UK), explained how three agricultural economists collected data throughout that time period for the annual “Louisiana Sugar Report.” Records include plantation ownership, indexes of cane growers and manufacturers, sugar prices, crop yields, production technologies used, stocks, trade detail and other information.

Those data, now publicly available through the project, provide access to a hundred thousand data entries that “provide scholars, genealogists, and members of the public with an unparalleled opportunity to examine the plantation regime in exceptional depth.…No other public database detailing plantation life in this detail exists.”

Citation: Bouchereau, the Louisiana Sugar Report
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“Why we love eBlasts.” In a feature article we added recently to the ACDC collection Denise Faguy said she and her associates at Professional Services love email blasts. They can, she explained: (a) build brand awareness and loyalty, (b) drive traffic to your website and (c) raise awareness for specific products or services, as well as generate leads or sales.

“But here is the part we LOVE about eblasts,” she added. She emphasized the value of immediate feedback, the detailed tracking of user activity in response to them.

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How we pay – and what we eat . Do consumers choose healthier diets when they pay by cash, or by debit card? U. S. Department of Agriculture researchers found several patterns among college students who were permitted to pay for their school cafeteria meals by (a) cash, (b) prepaid debit cards that could be used for any menu item or (c) prepaid debit cards that could be used for more healthful items only:

  • Payment method affected the amount they spent on meals. Those using cash spent more on average than those using restricted or unrestricted debit cards.
  • Payment method also affected the types of food chosen. Students paying with cash made healthier food choices than those with an unrestricted debit card. Those paying with a restricted debit card made the healthiest choices.

“In many cases, these differences were prominent and suggest that it is possible to change behavior by altering payment methods used for different foods,” researchers concluded.

Citation: Behavioral economic concepts to encourage healthy eating
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View vintage art (in farm magazines). Recently we came across some striking art on farm magazine covers from the Golden Age of American illustration. They are featured online within the “Farm Magazines” gallery of the web site of You can see vintage art on covers of the following farm magazines: Country Gentleman, Country Home, Farm Journal, Successful Farming and Better Fruit . Featured art appeared on covers of issues that were published between 1909 and 1934.

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Communicator activities approaching

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.

May 17-19, 2009
“Parlez-vouz marketing?” Seminar of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in Montreal, Canada.

May 24-28, 2009
“25 years of strengthening international agricultural and extension education.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Puerto Rico.

May 27-29, 2009
Fourth international conference on ICT for development, education and training in Dakar, Senegal.

June 6-10, 2009
“When tillage begins, other arts follow.” ACE.NETC.09 sponsored by the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), in Des Moines, Iowa USA.

June 13-16, 2009
“Branding communications with a kick.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Encouraging young photographers. You can view online a nice set of creative photographs taken during 2008 by members of the Missouri 4-H Photo Corps. This is an initiative of the 4-H office of the University of Missouri Extension. Rural Missouri magazine and several electric cooperatives supported the project by commenting on the 4-Hers’ work and publishing photographs.

These young photographers were encouraged to try unique points of view in their photos, according to an article in Rural Missouri , “and they came through with shining colors.”

Citation: Picturing Missouri
See the article and photos selected from more than 500 submissions 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.