ACDC News – Issue 10-20

Five strategies that producers use to deal with globalizing markets. We have added to the ACDC collection a report of a large-scale study of ways in which German producers manage their farms in the face of competitive global markets. Cluster analysis identified five strategic groups in the region under survey:

  • Diversifiers . Using newly developed businesses as well as primary production.
  • Cooperators. Expanding farms with a cooperative, interfarm approach.
  • Expanding lone fighters. Large farms acting alone to grow.
  • Growth-oriented outsourcers. Looking for growth and increasingly outsourcing their farm activities.
  • Precarious farms. Not cooperating and not diversifying.

You can read this report here .

50 years at WGN – and counting. The ACDC collection now includes several news articles and a one-hour radio broadcast honoring Orion Samuelson for his 50 years of agricultural broadcasting at WGN, Chicago. He reached that historic mark on September 26, a half century after being “hired on a handshake” at the age of 27 following eight years of broadcasting experience in Wisconsin.

“I was at the right place at the right time,” Orion observed during the September 26 broadcast. Many would express gratefulness for that match-up as Orion has set exemplary standards for professional practice and for communicating with millions about putting food on their tables.

You can listen to the broadcast, “The Legend Continues,” here .

More farmers reporting how they use smartphone apps. A recent article we have added to the ACDC collection from the California Farm Bureau Federation describes ways in which members are using applications for mobile smartphones and smartbooks. Here are some of the examples cited:

  • Tracking water usage and managing irrigation systems
  • Monitoring soil types to guide cropping and fertilizing strategies
  • Recording herd information
  • Measuring the distance and area of fields
  • Learning the number of growing degree days or heat units for a given area
  • Tracking frost and wind
  • Scanning bar-code information to seek favorable prices of products
  • Monitoring markets for fuel and commodity prices
  • Gaining access to spreadsheets “and all sorts of stuff”

You can read the article by Christine Souza here .

Timid editorial voices . Many Kentucky newspapers have a timid editorial voice, according to research findings of Al Cross and Elizabeth Hansen, reporting at the 2008 Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium. For example, their analysis of 102 weeklies during September 2007 revealed:

  • Among weeklies with circulation of 2,000 and under, 47 percent had no editorial pages during that time.
  • Among all the weeklies, 38 percent of those owned independently had no editorial pages.
  • Of the 74 weeklies that had editorial pages, 69 percent did not publish any locally written editorials.

You can read “Keeping quiet or taking the lead?” online.

How agricultural journalists can check the health of media in their societies. A new feature we have added from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) website identifies five key indicators professionals can use. The feature emphasizes that an environment of free, independent and pluralistic media is widely recognized as essential for fostering social wellbeing. “It probably is safe to say that the struggle for free expression never ends – in any society, regardless of its government’s democratic position.”

A recent report by an international expert group for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) identified five indicators that are summarized in this feature. They touch on regulatory systems, plurality and diversity of media, opportunity for free and democratic discourse, training of and support for professional journalists, and access to modern media technologies. The report also highlights several rural dimensions of media development.

You can read the feature here .

You can read the full UNESCO report here .

North American media reports about organic production – seldom negative. That is what researchers observed in a recent issue of British Food Journal that we have added to the ACDC collection. Their content analysis of 618 articles in five North American newspapers between 1999 and 2004 revealed:

  • 41 percent of the articles had a neutral tone toward organic agriculture and food
  • 37 percent had a positive tone
  • 16 percent were mixed
  • 6 percent were negative

Positive comments about organic food and agriculture centered mainly on concerns about environment, human health and food safety.

You can view an abstract of the article here .

Communicator activities approaching

February 5-8, 2011
Meeting of the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) in Corpus Christi, Texas USA.

February 21-22, 2011
“The Perfect Ten.” Southern Region Workshop for members of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Charleston, South Carolina USA. “To enhance skills in writing, photography, layout and design, social media, creativity, media relations and much more – all presented in bite-sized, top-ten lists!”

February 23-25, 2011
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Fort Myers, Florida USA.

Creative agri-thought of the month . We close this issue of ACDC News with an expression that Ted Haller used in a recent issue of NAFB eChats , newsletter of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting:

With twinkle in eye, he passed along something “Shakespeare once said about the Cattle Market – ‘To err is human, to Moo is Bovine’.”

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.