ACDC News – Issue 11-08

Urgent need to match research and information delivery – dollar for dollar. Julian Cribb offered this recommendation in his 2010 book, The coming famine: the global food crisis and what we can do to avoid it , that we added recently to the ACDC collection:

“One of the vices of the present global research and development system is that it values, and invests in, knowledge creation much more highly than knowledge sharing.  As a result, the communication of knowledge with farmers continues to lag far behind and if the world is serious about solving the food crisis it will need to match every scientific research dollar with a dollar to deliver that knowledge to farmers and consumers.

You can learn more about the book and author here .

View a PowerPoint presentation of highlights from the book by visiting the Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. website here .

Spider plots take us to new heights .  We’re pleased to report that the ACDC collection recently passed the 36,000-document mark. Honors went to a 2010 journal article about using spider plots for extension learning.  We might note that spider plots are not outlines for creepy mystery novels. Instead, they are handy tools that communicators and educators can use to involve learners in assessing the performance of organizations, programs and other entities that have multiple functions and stages.

Keys to staging large agricultural field events. A recent article in the Journal of Extension featured methods behind a successful series of theme-based expos in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa during the past decade.  The expo format includes four components, each focused on the production management theme of that expo:

  • Side-by-side field demonstrations of equipment and practices
  • Static displays of equipment and information booths
  • Presentations by researchers and other specialists
  • Panels of farmers experienced in the area or practice addressed by the expo

Beyond the boosted attendance, authors of the report noted how these expos strengthen relationships among Extension, researchers, farmers, agri-marketers and crop consultants.

Lots of “cause marketing” in the food sector.  How do consumers view it?

Marketers are ramping up the use of campaigns through which product purchases lead to donations for worthy causes. Food marketers seem especially active on this front. Recent analysis in Germany, for example, showed that the food industry was accounting for 35 percent of all cause-related promotions there.

A 2009 survey that we added recently to the ACDC collection revealed considerable question in the minds of German consumers about the “cause” value of those campaigns.  More than half (54 percent) said they believe that a maximum of 6 percent of the price premium reaches the cause.  Authors concluded that consumers want more transparency and efficiency from food marketers that use this tool.

Kinds and sources of corruption facing farm households. We seldom see research about rural corruption, even though it is widely recognized as a nagging barrier for development in any country.  So we have added to the ACDC collection, with special interest, a paper presented during September at an international conference in Switzerland. Researchers A. R. Anik, G. Breustedt and S. Bauer analyzed corruption facing farm households in six districts of Bangladesh as they interact with public service delivery organizations.  Among the findings of this survey research among farm households:

  • Seventy percent of the farm households reported having experienced corruption.
  • Land administration (92.5 percent), law enforcement (90.9 percent), judiciary (90 percent) and local government (60.5 percent) were sectors in which the households experienced most corruption.
  • Bribery (61.8 percent) was the most common form of corruption the households faced, followed by negligence of duties (21.5 percent) and nepotism/favoritism (10.7 percent).
  • Relatively wealthy farm households faced greater amounts of bribery.

Strong research agenda in the history of rural radio. Professor Steve Craig of the University of North Texas has developed a strong research agenda in media history, including an emphasis in rural radio.  For example, his 2009 book, Out of the dark: a history of radio and rural America , reflects the most thorough, definitive research effort we have seen in this important field.

The ACDC collection contains more than 2,200 journal articles, books, reports and other documents involving agricultural/rural radio, internationally. We can recall seeing none so historically and analytically rigorous as Out of the dark .  You can gain full-text access here to other papers and journal articles he has written on the history of rural broadcasting.

Unusual way to understand how rural youths view their media worlds .  Researchers at the University of Westminster, UK, used identity boxes to learn how 14- and 15-year-olds in Alston Moor, Cumbria, view media in their lives. In their 2010 conference paper , Fatimah Awan and David Gauntlett reported on their methods and their findings. Insights touched on views about television, cinema, magazine and book reading, music, new media, internet/computers and rural culture.  You can read the paper here.

ACDC Open-House: Connecting with the Community.


(L-R: Gemma Petrie, Robert S. (Pat) Allen, Joyce Wright, Jim Evans)

The ACDC recently held an open house for the University of Illinois and the greater Champaign-Urbana community. The ACDC received a mini grant from the Library Strategic Communications and Marketing Committee to produce a promotional materials and the ACES Advancement Office provided funds for refreshment for the event. The well-attended event served as an opportunity to unveil our new website and our new online database system. Feel free to look around and send us your feedback. The old database will be gradually phased-out over the next few weeks. (Please note: We are putting the finishing touches on the new database and we anticipate that users may experience slow load-times over the next few weeks as we work on it.  This will not be a lasting issue.) We look forward to sharing more information on the new database in future issues of the newsletter.

Communicator activities approaching

  • June 10-14, 2011
    Joint meeting of the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Denver, Colorado USA. Information:
  • June 19-22, 2011
    “Caliente!  Hot ideas for cooperative communicators.”  Cooperative Communicators Association Institute in San Antonio, Texas USA. Information:
  • July 3-7, 2011
    “Sustainable value chain agriculture for food security and economic development.”  2011 World Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Windhoek, Namibia. Information:
  • July 23-27, 2011
    “Jazz it up!”  Agricultural Media Summit involving the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, Agri Council of American Business Media and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. Information:
  • August 30-September 3, 2011
    20th European Seminar on Extension Education in Helsinki, Finland. Information:
  • September 14-18, 2011
    “Experience new world agriculture.”  2011 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Guelph, Canada, and Niagara Falls. Information:

Framing a persistent enemy .  We close this issue of ACDC News with an expression reported by Clarence Poe, a 50-year editor of The Progressive Farmer during the early 1900s.  He explained how some farmers described their battle with Bermuda grass, usually called wiregrass at that time:

“Even when you try to burn it, wherever the smoke hits the ground, another crop of wiregrass is started!”

We can relate to that image, on many fronts.

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. 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 .