ACDC News – Issue 14-01

Welcome to the first 2014 issue of ACDC News

We hope you enjoy a New Year of news and updates from the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. What began 32 years ago as a small teaching file for

agricultural communications faculty members here at the University of Illinois has become a unique international resource and service. What you read in ACDC News only scratches the surface of information flowing daily into this online-searchable collection. It now includes nearly 40,000 documents that involve communications aspects of agriculture, food, feed, fiber, renewable energy, natural resources, and rural development in more than 170 countries.

Thank you!

The Center started from scratch and operates with no big budget. But it has an increasingly important mission—helping bring together and provide access to the widely-scattered body of knowledge about this vital field of interest. It also has a dedicated staff, an exceptional University Library resource and the inspiration of you who use this resource and help strengthen it. Thank you. We look forward to sharing research, news, perspectives and other information that helps you communicate effectively and grow professionally. Also, please let us know whenever we can assist you in special ways.

Re-educating about rural America and what goes on there

Tom Vilsack, U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, addressed that need during his recent presentation at the Rural Futures Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. Agriculture needs to do a better job of telling its story to urban dwellers, he said, especially those who give little thought to how food gets to their tables.

“Now is the time for us to re-emphasize, re-educate and remind America of the importance of rural America. We have to market agricultural research in a way that people understand what’s in it for them.” People “don’t quite get what’s going on on the farm because we don’t talk to them, so they get some pretty crazy ideas.”

You can read a news report of his speech at:

You can listen to the speech at:

Increased agricultural productivity – reduced poverty. Right?

Well, yes—but… When agricultural economics researchers Rebati Mendali and Lewell F. Gunter analyzed that relationship for a set of developing countries they found support in the pooled sample. However, productivity change involving small samples did not show any significant impact on poverty reduction.

“…there are other relevant variables that affect poverty in a country,” the researchers concluded in their 2013 conference paper.

You can read it at:

How food brand retailers can address the fickle behavior of bargain shoppers

This subject earned recognition as one of the Top Ten Stories in Progressive Grocer during 2013. Author Amber Williams highlighted dramatic changes in food shopping and offered these five coping tools for food brand retailers:

  1. Capitalize on differentiating yourself—”personal, authentic, and creative ideas that help you stand apart from your competition, connect your business with consumers, and build stronger loyalty.”
  2. Build a strong, consistent look and feel.
  3. Understand your consumers and mold your deals and discounts to fit their needs.
  4. Help your loyal customers feel like VIPs.
  5. Be there where they need you, when they need you.

You can read this article, “Lost in the supermarket,” at:

Valuable efforts for ethical agricultural reporting

The ACDC team salutes Karen Simon, retiring chair of the Ethics Committee of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, and her fellow members. During recent years they have taken important steps to assure ethical agricultural reporting that serves audiences through fairness, accuracy, honesty, intelligence and truth.

You can view the AAEA codes, case studies and curriculum online at these sites:

Dedicated ACDC director retires

Congratulations and best wishes to Prof. Joyce Wright, ACDC coordinator who retired last month after serving in the University of Illinois Library for more than 28 years. Joyce has served as director of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center since May 2010.

Under her effective guidance, the Center has grown and advanced on all fronts. She guided the establishment of a new web-based bibliographic system that strengthens user access to the ACDC collection, which grew from about 34,500 to more than 39,500 documents during her service. Among other contributions, she:

  • Envisioned and planned innovative new outreach services, including custom research and education programs
  • Hosted professionals and scholars from throughout the world
  • Coordinated the processing of six new contributed collections and the development of a new website
  • Improved policies and procedures
  • Increased awareness of resources and services of the Center among stakeholders
  • Mentored a half dozen graduate and undergraduate assistants

We are grateful for Joyce’s dedicated service and wish her the best in retirement.


Communicator activities approaching

  • February 1-4, 2014
    Research Program, Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) at an annual conference in Dallas, Texas. Information:
  • February 10, 2014
    Deadline for research proposals, theses and dissertations from graduate students in an awards program sponsored by the Research Special Interest Group of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). Awards will be presented at the ACE Annual Meeting, June 24-27, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. Information: Prof. Courtney Meyers at
  • February 10-11, 2014
    2014 Professional Development Workshop of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Sacramento, California.  Information:
  • February 28, 2014
    Deadline for entries in the green reporting competition sponsored by the German Association of Agricultural Journalists and open to German agricultural journalists. Information: Friederike Krick at
  • April 6-8, 2014
    Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists in Washington, D. C. Information:
  • April 9-11, 2014
    “A fresh perspective.” 2014 Agri-Marketing Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), in Jacksonville, Florida. Information:
  • April 27-May 1, 2014
    Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Miami, Florida. Information:

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