ACDC News – Issue 15-01

Welcome to the first 2015 issue of ACDC News

We hope you will enjoy and find value in a new year of research, updates and perspectives from the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center based at the University of Illinois.

You have more resources than ever to find and use.  The ACDC collection now totals 41,000 documents from around the world.  BibLeaves, our hard-working online search system, makes your searching easy and powerful. And ACDC staff members enjoy helping you, your associates or students find information you need about all kinds of human communicating related to agriculture (broadly defined) – nearly anywhere – and from latest to earliest.

Thanks for your interest and encouragement

Special thanks to those who contributed news, documents, thoughts and suggestions last year.  As readers and users, you are the most important partners in developing this unique resource to strengthen agriculture-related journalism and communications, wherever you live and work.  We welcome the opportunity to serve and cooperate with you during 2015.

At the same time, we do not wish to impose on your time and interests.  Please let us know at if you prefer not to be informed of new issues of ACDC News.

2015, here we come – with a first sample of research, news, views, ideas and events.

New survey on food decisions and consumer trust

“Cracking the code on food issues: Insights from moms, millennials and foodies” is the title of a new report from the Center for Food Integrity. Findings were based on an online survey completed in September among 2,005 respondents who reflect the general U.S. consumer population. The survey identified trusted sources and information-seeking patterns as a guide for communicating effectively with consumers about food

You can read the full 2014 CFI Consumer Trust Research Report here .

“Can we call it smart data instead of big data?”

Charlie O’Brien, senior vice-president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, offered that framing suggestion in a recent issue of the AEM periodical, Ag Executive Advisor . He observed that “big data” conjures up an immense mountain of bits and bytes coming from the farm to increase production. “It also may invoke thoughts of Big Brother, with fears of who may get their hands on some of this data.”

“Wouldn’t ‘smart data’ be a more appropriate term?” he asked. “The data, by design, is used for decision-making. … So let’s build the electronic bridges between the data clouds and build the right security measures so that farmers are comfortable releasing their data for select uses.  And let’s build the right standards around the data formats…”

You can read this commentary in the December 2014 issue here.

New resources about Africa Lead II

Thanks to Kathy Alison of Training Resources Group for alerting us to new resources about Africa Lead II, the USAID’s primary capacity-building program in sub Saharan Africa. It is working to help realize goals of Feed the Future by “building the capacity of champions, institutions and stakeholders to develop, lead and manage the structures needed for African-led agriculture transformation.”

The program has a new website and new quarterly newsletter. They provide program reports (by country), result stories, “Champion’s Corner” videos, and other resources.

You can learn more about these resources for African-based agricultural development here .

Australian students produce animation for rural development in Timor-Leste

Animation is a key ingredient in a current project to help crop growers in Timor-Leste try new maize varieties developed by Seeds of Life and the Ministry of Agriculture. Final-year students at Charles Sturt University in Australia are preparing the animations that feature 12 key agronomic messages. They are working under the direction of Chris McGillion, a senior lecturer in journalism at the University.

You can read a brief report from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research here .

Caution about staffing for social media

At a recent conference in France, business consultant Mike Greene explored two sides of a personnel dilemma facing food companies in their use of social media.

  • Managers tend to be older and are not naturally with social media, so they stick to the media they know.
  • However, food companies “should not just hire the first young person to show a bit of skill with social media.” Using it doesn’t make an expert. “…there are rules that work, and ways that work, and the right mix of video and imagery and content is really important to get successful social media.”

You can read a news report of his remarks and view a brief video interview here .

Distinguished service award to ACDC leader

Congratulations to Prof. Lura Joseph, manager of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center.  She recently was awarded the Mary B. Ansari Distinguished Service Award by the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). The award recognizes significant contributions in the field of geoscience information.

Throughout her career, Lura’s professional activity and research reflect an understanding and concern for bibliography, library collections, and geoscience information. This is in particular regard to geologic field trip guidebooks. She has been the chair and guiding force of the GSIS Guidebook Committee for many years, as well as a principal contributor to the American Geosciences Institute’s Geologic Guidebooks of North America Database. In addition, she has authored several book chapters, written numerous book reviews, and made presentations at conferences, institutes, and workshops around the country. In addition to serving as ACDC Manager, Lura also is a Content Access and Research Services Librarian here at the University of Illinois.

Communicator activities approaching

February 1-2, 2015
Agricultural Communications Section, 2015 conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Atlanta, Georgia.
April 14-17, 2015
“Growing Greatness,” Agri-Marketing Conference, National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), in Kansas City, Missouri.
April 26-28, 2015
Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D.C.
April 27-May 1, 2015
Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (IAIEE) in Wageningen, The Netherlands.
April 27-29, 2015
“Washington Watch” of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Washington, D. C.

Check this dishonored food-and-diet writing

We close this issue of ACDC News with a recent example of remarkable food and diet writing.  It received “Dishonorable Mention” in the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University.  The international competition honors bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. So we share the entry submitted by Phillip Davies of Cardiff, U.K.:

“Finally after ninety-seven long days adrift Captain Pertwee was rescued, mercifully ending his miserable diet of rainwater and strips of sun dried Haddock which was actually far ghastlier than it sounded what with George Haddock being his former first mate.”

You can read other honored (and dishonored) entries in the 2014 contest at

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