ACDC News – Issue 13-07

Careers increasing in agricultural journalism

Anne Hart, Sacramento (California) Nutrition Examiner, sees her region “turning to agricultural journalism to communicate what’s happening locally with farming, the environment, and who’s getting grants.” She observed growing need for agricultural and environmental journalists in business, government, research, and the media—and emphasized the added breadth of agricultural journalism, including food, nutrition, and health.

“If you enjoy writing about the environment, plants, food, and genetics and either enjoy broadcast media or digital media combined with an interest in farming, there’s a field of journalism open called agricultural and environmental journalism.”

You can read her article at:

Communicating better: vital key to reducing global food waste

An estimated 30-50 percent of all food produced on the planet is lost before reaching a human stomach. That sobering statistic launched a January 2013 report we are adding to the ACDC collection from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (London, UK). Much of the 31-page report documented where, how, and why waste occurs in the global food system. And we note that all three recommendations in the report center in communications:

  1. Put into place programs that transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to newly developing countries.
  2. Incorporate waste minimization thinking into the transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently being planned, engineered and built.
  3. Devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations. “These should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.”

You can read this report, “Global food: waste not, want not,” at:

How farmers decide to enter agritourism

A national survey helped USDA researchers Faqir Singh Bagi and Richard J. Reeder identify factors affecting decisions of U.S. farmers to take part in agritourism. Their report in 2012 identified these factors as significant:

  • Characteristics of the farm (e.g., percent of land not suitable for crop production, whether the land is enrolled in a conservation program, public access allowed for recreational uses to some part of the farm)
  • Characteristics of the farm operator (e.g., age, education, access to the internet, use of farm management advice, amount of land owned, farm ownership structure)
  • Area in which the farm is located (e.g., nearness to a city, Southern Plains region, and Rocky Mountain region)

You can read their article in Agricultural and Resource Economics Review at:

How well do mobile phones improve educational outcomes?

Research findings reported in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning revealed a mixed answer to that question in rural and remote regions of developing countries. Analyses of mobile learning (mLearning) projects in six Asian countries showed:

  • Mobile phones facilitated increased access to education
  • Findings of the projects were mixed in regard to the extent to which mLearning promoted new learning
  • Contradictory evidence also appeared in regard to the benefits of mLearning for those who have not succeeded in traditional educational settings

You can read this 2010 journal article at:

What consumers want on food labels that’s not available now

A research team at the University of Milano, Italy reported an unusual two-part consumer research project involving information on food labels. One part examined what label information gets top consideration (e.g., vitamins, energy, and fat).

Part 2 examined interest in information currently not available on food labels. On a Likert scale (7 highest; 1 lowest), consumers expressed greatest interest in information about animal welfare (6.0) and type of breeding (5.5). Next came:

  • food miles (5.3)
  • packaging material (5.1)
  • food knowledge (4.3)
  • carbon footprint (4.0)
  • water saving during the production process (3.5).

You can read this article in the International Journal on Food System Dynamics at:

Congratulations to our associate, Stephanie Pitts-Noggle .

This month Stephanie will receive her master’s degree in library and information science here at the University of Illinois. She successfully carried out her study program while serving as ACDC academic coordinator and webmaster through a half-time graduate assistantship.

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:

On good food labeling

We close this issue of ACDC News with an example from Tony Holkham in his book, Label writing and planning: a guide for good consumer communication. We added it recently to the ACDC collection. Holkham wondered how consumers interpret this food-related label:

“free range eggs” (“How do they get about?”)

He said this puzzling approach reminds him of comedienne Phyllis Diller’s take on this label, “Keep away from children.”

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