ACDC News – Issue 16-03

Young farmers/ranchers invite training for communicating online

A 2015 research report we have added to the ACDC collection identified kinds of training needed by young agriculturists in Florida, Georgia and Texas. They were invited to identify the importance of various online communication tasks – and how competent they felt about performing them. Here are the top-rated training needs they identified:

  • Websites: creating, using for agricultural business, measuring impact, managing, publishing
  • Using computer-based communication technology
  • Other online communication tools: using social media to gather information about audiences/consumers, monitoring consumer trends related to their business, understanding how social media (in general) fit into their business strategy; using measurement tools, uploading videos and photos to the web for sharing, using Facebook for engaging people/consumers, and awareness of business risk.

You can read the article, “Identifying agriculturists’ online communication tool training needs,” here .

Accuracy and role of indigenous knowledge in monitoring climate change

A recent report from Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) sheds useful light on relationships between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge. Researchers analyzed farmers’ perceptions of climate change in Zambia. Results involving temperature showed clear overlap between farmers’ observations and patterns found in meteorological records. However, records did not match farmers’ perceptions that the rainy season used to begin earlier.

Researchers concluded that a complete picture of climate change requires contributions from multiple knowledge systems, including indigenous.

You can read the newsletter article here .

Effects of food safety education for consumers

In controlled trials, efforts to provide food safety education for consumers in developed countries showed significant effects in some contexts. That was the finding of a review and meta-analysis reported in a 2015 issue of BMC Public Health . However, researchers found that many outcomes were “very heterogeneous and did not provide a strong quality of evidence to support decision-making.”

Authors identified articles through a comprehensive search of 10 bibliographic databases. Relevant articles were selected based on research in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The selection was verified by hand-searching two journals, websites of 24 relevant organizations and reviews of reference lists for 30 articles.

You can read this report by open access here .

“Welcome to the ‘antibiotic-free’ fear factory”

A recent commentary by Angela Bowman in Cattle Network welcomed readers to the “‘antibiotic-free’ fear factory.” She cited examples such as:

  • Restaurants joining retailers in marketing their products as antibiotic-free.
  • Pediatricians recently being warned that antibiotic usage in livestock is putting children at risk of superbugs.
  • A UK newspaper promoting a vegetarian diet to curb the industry’s “overuse of antibiotics.”
  • Blogger emphasizing to consumers, the issue is “simple and one-dimensional. It’s not about animal welfare.  It’s not about economics. It’s not about efficient food production. The antibiotic issue is about human health, plain and simple.”

You can read it here .

Public-scientists gap about food and climate: a striking finding from 2015

The Pew Research Center included this gap among 15 “striking findings” from the past year, based on national research surveys. The biggest gap between scientists and the American public involved safety of eating genetically modified foods, use of animals in science, safety of eating foods grown with pesticides and human activity as the cause of climate change.

You can see all 15 “striking findings” of 2015 here .

Establish an agricultural news network for rural community newspapers

Sandra Robinson offered the suggestion in a Grassroots Editor article based on her analysis of agricultural coverage by rural community newspapers in southern Illinois.

She found that community members, news services and other agricultural organizations provide agricultural news, unlike general news content that is primarily produced by reporters. “Perhaps the most beneficial change would be to create a network through which agriculture news and information can easily be shared among rural newspapers and other media outlets. A periphery-to-periphery information system would allow rural communities to share news and information about their experiences with other rural communities.”

This journal article is not available by open access. However, you can read the conference paper on which it is based here .

Communicator activities approaching

April 4-8, 2016
Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Portland, Oregon. Information:

April 13-15, 2016
“From the ground up.” Agri-marketing conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri. Information:

April 24-26, 2016
Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D. C. Information:

May 3-5, 2016
“Steak your claim.” Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Omaha, Nebraska. Information:

June 4-7, 2016
“Get up and GROW in the big O.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Omaha, Nebraska. Hosted by the North Central Region of CCA. Information:

June 6-9, 2016
“A byte of paradise.”  Annual conference of the National Extension Technology Community (NETC) in Kissimmee, Florida USA. Information:

June 9-13, 2016
“Communicating with power.” Annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Fukuoka, Japan. Information:

June 13-16, 2016
Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Memphis, Tennessee. Information:

June 16-18, 2016
“May the horse be with you.” Annual seminar of American Horse Publications (AHP) in Orlando, Florida. Information:

June 21-23, 2016
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Information:

Dangers between the ears

We close this issue of ACDC News with a communicators’ Philosofact from the Farmers’ Almanac of 1995:

“It is better that things go in one ear and out the other
than if they go in one ear, get scrambled between the ears,
and come out the mouth.”

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 and valuable 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