ACDC News – Issue 10-21

Holiday and year-end greetings to you from all of us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center here at the University of Illinois. We have thoroughly enjoyed being in touch with you during 2010 and hope we have added in some way to your year.

Agricultural “infovation” happening around us. Peter Ballantyne, president of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists, used that term in a recent summary of emerging trends and issues in our field of interest. The term “infovation” emphasizes how agricultural information and communications managers need to be innovators in managing knowledge. For example, he noted how:

  • Agricultural researchers become bloggers and publish websites
  • Farmers form learning networks
  • Extension workers build wikis
  • Librarians become film-makers

You can read an abstract of this 2009 article in Information Development journal here .

Check with us at about gaining full-text access.

Still mighty lively and ACTive at 40. Congratulations to the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) organization that observed its 40th anniversary this year. Students studying agricultural journalism and agricultural communications at universities throughout the U.S. organized this student group during 1970 at a conference in Ithaca, New York. Thanks to all of the professionals and organizations that have encouraged and supported ACT members throughout these years – at campus, national and international levels.

Learn more about ACT and some current activities of members by visiting the ACT website here .

Ethical food and ethical claims that matter most to food shoppers . A new research report that we have added to the ACDC collection sheds light on ethical claims, and on how ethical concerns influence food purchases. During January, Context Marketing conducted this research involving 600 adults living in major metropolitan areas across the U.S.

One part of the study explored what consumers mean by “ethical food.” More than 90 percent identified these main features:

  • Avoids harming the environment (93 percent)
  • Meets high standards of safety (93 percent) and quality (91 percent)
  • Uses environmentally sustainable practices (91 percent)
  • Avoids inhumane treatment of farm animals (91 percent)

You can read the report here

What connects to the meaning of “ethical food”? An online response from TruffleMedia to the “ethical food” perceptions (above) raised concerns about how the word “ethical” is used. For example:

  • Does it mean food produced locally?
  • Is it “tied to things that are not ethics related: healthy/nutritious, trans fats, produced in USA and organically produced”?
  • “If you do not produce organic food are you unethical”?

You can read this response here .

New resource about veterinary communicating . A 2010 book we added recently to the ACDC collection focuses on communications challenges that veterinarians face in their day-to-day work. Handbook of Veterinary Communication Skills by Carol Gray and Jenny Moffett provides tips and insights about activities such as:

  • Consulting with clients
  • Working with grief
  • Dealing with delicate situations, such as euthanasia, end of life and mistakes
  • Relating to media and colleagues

Check with us at if you are interested in this book and don’t have local access to it.

Animation helps a rural UK community rally around an intimidating project. Who would have thought it possible for the Village of Skinningrove (on the east coast of England) to regenerate a jetty which had stood derelict and dangerous for many years? Two local activists would, with the help of a digital innovator, Steve Thompson. He suggested building and launching the jetty in Second Life. With a “go” signal, he recruited lots of local school children and others to create a film showing what a refurbished and reopened jetty would look like in Real Life. The film “premiered to great acclaim in February 2009” and the project effort began.

Producer Thompson described this innovative community media project in a conference paper you can read here .

You can view the film on YouTube here .

Communicator activities approaching

January 24, 2011
Deadline for research papers, research proposals, theses and dissertations to be presented at the ACE/NETC annual meeting (Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences, and National Extension Technology Conference). It takes place in Denver, Colorado, June 10-14, 2011.
Information: Amanda Ruth-McSwain at

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.

New batch of favorite oxymorons . From time to time we check on oxymorons that relate to food/agriculture and communications. We close this year-end issue of ACDC News with some favorites, this time from the journalism and communications side:

  • Final draft
  • New and improved
  • Deliberate mistake
  • Brief speech
  • Expressive silence

Let us know at when you see others you would nominate.

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.