ACDC News – Issue 13-05

Agricultural data more important than ever

The U. S. agricultural data system is under threat, an Oklahoma State University extension specialist reported in a January feature we are adding to the ACDC collection. It is easy to take for granted the data provided by a variety of government agencies, Derrell Peel observed. However, such data are “often overlooked and much of the current data system is under consideration for reduction or elimination.”

“Failure to recognize the longer run benefits of a strong data system against the short run budget savings of cutting data programs has enormous implications, not only for producers but for society at large.” He argued that the public-good nature of agricultural market information has been documented for many years, as a way to make markets more efficient.

You can read his report at:

Food marketers among those making the “biggest branding mistakes”

Matt Haig’s second compendium of historic branding errors includes a grocery cart full of food brands and marketers. Here are examples cited in his recent edition of Brand failures: the truth about the 100 biggest branding mistakes of all time :

  • Classic failures (including McDonald’s Arch Deluxe)
  • Idea failures (including Kellogg’s Cereal Mates, Crystal Pepsi, and Maxwell House ready-to-drink coffee)
  • Extension failures (including Chiquita’s “exotic juices” and Frito-Lay Lemonade)
  • PR failures (including the McLibel trial and Snow Brand milk products in Japan)
  • Culture failures (including Gerber in Africa, Kellogg’s in India, Quaker Oats Snapple)
  • People failures (including Guiltless Gourmet)
  • Tired brands (including Ovaltine malt drink)

Check with us at if you would like help in gaining access to information in this book.

Telling the “local story” of produce can be a double-edged sword

Connecting food producers and consumers through the “local story” gets strong attention these days. Attention often focuses on direct marketing or local retail efforts. How does the story of fresh, locally-grown food get communicated within longer supply chains, such as schools, colleges, hospitals, senior meal sites, and correctional facilities? University of Vermont researchers addressed that question through interviews among those involved in institutional procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We find that providing more of the farmers’ ‘story’ is a double-edged sword,” the researchers concluded. They found it valuable in connecting the consumer and farmer, but costly in terms of time, effort, and money. Findings suggested that the connection is especially costly for producers in the supply chain.

You can read this Journal of Food Distribution Research article at:

Cloud computing: hope for rural development

Authors of a 2012 article in the Wayamba Journal of Animal Science suggested that cloud technology and innovations have opened up a new era of information dissemination and connectivity to rural areas. They discussed these potential applications in rural India:

  • E-agriculture commerce services
  • Animal health care and delivery services
  • Tele-medicine
  • Microfinance institutions
  • Disaster management
  • E-education/E-learning
  • Rural cyber youth entrepreneurs
  • Rural governance

They also identified challenges such as network access, cost of data transfer, user control over remote servers (confidentiality, integrity, availability of user’s data), and language barriers.

You can read this article at:

New IFAJ steps for supporting and protecting agricultural journalists

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) organization is moving forward in a strategy developed last August to reach out to journalists in new countries and new ways. President Markus Rediger, writing in the January issue of IFAJ News , emphasized the importance of free flow of information in serving societies.

“We want to stick to it in our process of becoming a more worldwide organization and reaching out to journalists in new countries,” he explained. His report identified new and ongoing contacts in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

You can read his president’s report at:

“Unpacking the HSUS gravy train”

That is the title of a report and commentary added recently to the ACDC collection. It was posted during late November by the HumaneWatch organization, Washington, D.C. It provides financial information from the Internal Revenue Service Form 990, as submitted by the Humane Society of the United States for calendar year 2011.

You can read the report at:

Lots of communicator activities approaching

  • May 7-9, 2013
    Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Portland, Oregon. Information:
  • May 19-22, 2013
    “Building capacity through international agricultural and extension education.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Fort Worth, Texas. Information:
  • June 1-5, 2013
    “Sound ideas: the stage is set.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Nashville, Tennessee. Information:
  • June 11-14, 2013
    “ACE-NETC Racing Ahead 2013.” Joint conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) and the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Commemorates the 100th anniversary of ACE and features more than 100 professional breakout sessions. Information:
  • June 17-21, 2013
    Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in London, UK. Information:
  • July 22-24, 2013
    “Emerging priorities for scientific and agricultural information.” 14th World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists in Ithaca, New York. Information:
  • August 3-7, 2013
    “Just wing it!” Agricultural Media Summit sponsored by the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and the Agri Council of American Business Media in Buffalo, New York. Also hosts the annual conference of the student organization, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Information:
  • August 26-28, 2013
    “Transformative change: chosen or unchosen—pathways to innovation, resilience and prosperity.” International conference of the Australasian-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Christchurch, New Zealand. Information:
  • September 1-5, 2013
    Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina. Information:

Writing tips from 86 years ago

We close this issue of ACDC News with a poem in a 1927 issue of ACE , newsletter of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors. It was attributed to John B. Opdycke, author of The English of Commerce . Although it pertains to letter writing, it also offers insights and tips that serve agricultural journalists and communicators.

Write your letter somewhat better

Than all other things you do;

Write it neatly and discreetly,

Keep it brief, yet ample, too;

Write it brightly, but politely,

Make it human through and through

Best wishes and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC . 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, room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to