ACDC News – Issue 12-04

Reaching a million consumers about farmers and farming . A report from AgriMarketing Weekly alerts us to news about a video, “God made a farmer,” that has reached nearly one million video views., with offices in Canada and the U.S., posted it last June as a tribute to farmers.

You can view this 2:36 inspirational video at:

“Next Frontiers” symposium attracts more than 300. On February 17, The University of Illinois hosted a symposium, “‘Food and Agricultural Communications: The Next Frontier,” for more than 300 participants. It marked the 50th anniversary of the academic program in agricultural communications, a dual effort of the College of Media and College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.

You can view presentations online at

Among the featured reports and panels:

  • “The communications challenges ahead of us and why they are important”
  • “Communicating better about what science can deliver”
  • “Colliding beliefs and common ground”
  • “Bringing nutrition and rural development to the farthest reaches”
  • “Communications leaders: creating the next generation”

Talented recruits from rural areas feed a successful freelancing cooperative. We recently added to the ACDC collection a news report about African Eye, a news service that functions as a cooperative. In this unusual business model each reporter keeps half of the revenue generated by his or her own stories, according to the news item. The other half supports the enterprise that edits and markets those stories.

African Eye was launched 18 years ago and now has 15 full-time journalists as well as a network of correspondents, covering six countries. Apprentice correspondents undergo a rigorous training process; “the best can become full-fledged reporters of the service.”

You can view this report at

Keeping agricultural information private . A 2010 research report we have added to the ACDC collection sheds light on why farmers may choose not to share their experiences and knowledge. Dr. Julie Ingram’s study involved farmers practicing reduced tillage in England. Here are some of the reasons they offered for being unwilling to share their experiences and knowledge:

  • Aversion to publicity. Example: “I don’t shout about what we do.”
  • Past experiences of criticism from neighbors.
  • A competitive nature and perspective.
  • Established, pioneer reduced tillers may “see themselves as purists” and question the motivation and skill of others. Example: “I suspect most are doing it to cut costs and they think it’s easy, but they are not doing it properly and some are making of mess of it.”

Do you know of reports of other research that sheds light on this topic of information sharing? If so, please get in touch with us at .

You can read the publisher’s abstract of this Journal of Sustainable Agriculture article at

Or check with us for help in gaining access to it.

Food writing – journalism at its best. Paula Crossfield, managing editor of Civil Eats, offered that view in a commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection.

“I write about food,” she said, “because I think it is a vital issue that has for decades been critically overlooked by the media – and thus the American public – leaving a vast backlog of interesting stories. And because I think food has the potential to unite us.” Food writing fits well with traditional agricultural journalism, she suggested. From her perspective, journalism can be the facilitator of conversations among farmers and eaters across the country, laying things “in the sunlight.”

You can read “Why I write about food” at:

News framing, online tools, and university image featured in JAC . You can read research reports about these dimensions of agricultural communications in the first 2011 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications :

  • Karen J. Cannon and Tracy A. Irani, “Fear and loathing in Britain: a framing analysis of news coverage during the foot and mouth disease outbreaks in the United Kingdom.”
  • Joy Goodwin and Emily Rhoades, “Agricultural legislation: the presence of California Proposition 2 on YouTube.”
  • Mark Anderson-Wilk, “Improving discoverability, preventing broken links: considerations for land-grant university publishers.”
  • Courtney A. Meyers and Tracy A. Irani, “Measuring the value of a land-grant university.”

View them at:

Mobile phones “can be enslaving as well as liberating.” Researcher Cara Wallis reported this outcome in a journal article we added recently to the ACDC collection. It came to her attention during 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork among young rural-to-urban migrant women working in the low-level service sector in Beijing, China. One case example involved a supervisor manipulating and controlling employees through their mobile phone.

In conclusion, Wallis encouraged attention to the “contingencies of culture” in analyzing information technologies. Marginalized workers’ use of mobile phones will not necessarily lead to greater income, a better job or more autonomy, she observed.

You can read the abstract of this New Media and Society article, “Mobile phones without guarantees,” here:

Check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Communicator activities approaching.

  • March 22-23, 2012
    Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Information:
  • April 16-18, 2012
    “Sustainable Human Development.” The World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) in New Delhi, India. Organized by the International Federation for Information Processing. Will focus on four key areas: agriculture, education, health and e-governance. Information:
  • April 18-20, 2012
    “Acres of Innovation.” 2012 conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:
  • June 2-5, 2012
    “Adventures in Communications.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA. Information:
  • June 11-14, 2012
    “Charting a New Course.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

When farm magazine subscribers failed to pay . Back in the days when subscriptions provided a larger share of income than at present, farm publishers used powerful medicine to urge subscribers to pay up. We close this issue of ACDC News with an appeal that one publisher used with some success, according to Clarence Poe, long-time editor of The Progressive Farmer :

The man who cheats his paper

Out of a single cent

Will never reach that heavenly land

Where old Elijah went.

But when at last his race is run –

This life of toil and woe –

He’ll straightway go to that fiery land

Where they never shovel snow.”

Best wishes 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 Comm Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to