ACDC News – Issue 13-11

Do ICTs further or hinder Gross National Happiness?

Kezang and Jason Whalley addressed that question during the Fourth International Conference on Gross National Happiness in Thimphu, Bhutan. GNH is the philosophy that has guided development within Bhutan. It operates on the principle that GNH is more important than Gross National Product (GNP). In this approach, the ultimate purpose of the government is to promote the happiness of the people.

Authors traced the introduction of various information and communication technologies in Bhutan from a telephone system in the early 1960s to radio, television, the internet and cellular mobile services. They concluded that the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” (including some residents in rural areas) can be reduced through ICTs, but not entirely overcome.

You can read this conference paper at:

Selling food direct from the farm? Ask consumers about their family illnesses

That advice came from 2012 research among consumers in four major cities in the southeastern region of the U.S. When researchers examined who buys food directly from producers they discovered impact related to:

  • Illness among respondents and their related family members. On average, about half reported that they and/or immediate family members had experienced four occurrences of illnesses involving cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Relatively greater understanding of the agriculture industry
  • Higher levels of physical activity

Authors suggested these findings hold important implications for helping local-food producers connect with prospective local-food consumers.

You can read this conference paper “Who buys food directly from producers?” at:

Separating private choice from views of public policy: the case of animal cloning

We recently added to the ACDC collection a research report that raised a caution flag about using the private shopping choices of individuals to draw conclusions about their desires for food policies. Kathleen R. Brooks and Jayson L. Lusk used a web-based survey involving a probability sample of the general U.S. population. The survey showed contradictory results. Private shopping choices for meat and milk indicated people were willing to pay to avoid cloned meat and milk. Private choices implied that practically everyone would favor a ban on the practice of animal cloning. However, choices for public policy predicted that only about 40 percent had a positive willingness to pay for such a ban.

You can read this Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics article at:

Family-friendly entrepreneurs (especially women in rural areas)

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2012 journal article by Carol Ekinsmyth about new business formation in family spaces. The author, a geography faculty member, noted that 73 percent of UK enterprises have no employees, and 17 percent of those are managed solely by women. This significant phenomenon is growing, she noted, especially in rural areas. She investigated the nature, dynamics, networks, and locations of new female businesses started within the past five years.

Findings underlined the importance of businesses (a) created within family spaces and (b) borne out of desire to manage work/life tensions. They suggested that good business ideas for these women were born and nurtured in the “everyday, mundane spaces of family life.” They came to fruition through word-of-mouth social contacts and networking that occur in these spaces. Following are four businesses identified most frequently through the study:

  • Personal services (e.g., parent training and responsibilities)
  • Baby and children’s products
  • Network marketing consultancies
  • Writing, blogging, art, and design

You can read this article at:

More creative ideas for teaching agricultural communications

Here are three more recent reports of creative ways in which agricultural communications teachers are helping students learn to communicate effectively:

  • Using reflective journaling to encourage students to think critically about television and movie portrayals of science and agriculture.
    View at: ” Featuring agriculture
  • Bringing animal science and agricultural communications students together to plan and manage a horse sale, called the Razorback Roundup.
    View at: ” Clients’ perceptions of the quality of services
  • Involving students in evaluating the usability of the website for a state agricultural research database.
    View at: ” Evaluating the usability

Communicator activities approaching

  • 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:
  • September 18-20, 2013
    Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) in Park City, Utah. Information:
  • October 4-6, 2013
    “Big agriculture in a small setting.” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) at Harrison Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia. Information:

Risks (or maybe temptations) facing environmental editors

We close this issue of ACDC News with several more “supposed actual newspaper headlines” that have caught the attention of Prof. Ernest Barreto of the Nonlinear Science Group at George Mason University. In particular, they alert readers to eye-catching news about natural resources and wildlife.

“Stolen painting found by tree”

“Lansing residents can drop off trees”

“New vaccine may contain rabies”

“Deer kill 17,000”

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