ACDC News – Issue 98-06

Note this new URL for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center:

You will find more power and speed in your online searches these days, thanks to new major improvements 
 in  the Center web site.

Here are some of them:

  • New interface.  When you begin the real search, you can go quickly and easily to the thesaurus for subject terms.  Or you can go directly to your request for lists of citations according to title, author, subject and other criteria.  This interface also permits you to ask for help and specify the number of citations that you want to get.
  • Greater searching power.  When you search on a given “subject term” you automatically call up all documents that are subject indexed under that term, from the thesaurus. In addition, you identify all other documents which contain that term in the title.  Documents are listed chronologically, starting with most recent documents.

And when you pull up a given citation, you can also search quickly on any authors, subject terms or
journals that appear within the citation.

  • Greater speed.  You will find that search operations occur more quickly than in the past.

We hope these improvements serve you well.  Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions.
Other  refinements are under way, including improved “help” sections.
Special thanks to Jeremy Todd and Floyd Davenport of the Information Technology and Communication
Services unit for their valuable assistance.

Interested in communications related to water quality?

If so, you may wish to see a research report that arrived recently at the Center:

Peter Nowak, Garrett O’Keefe, Claude Bennett, Susan Anderson and Craig Trumbo. Communication and
adoption evaluation of USDA water quality demonstration projects:  evaluation report.  Cooperative State
Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.  October
1997.  43 pp.

This evaluation focused upon USDA demonstration projects designed to “accelerate voluntary adoption of
agricultural practices that protect surface and groundwater, while maintaining farm and ranch productivity
and profitability.”  Findings featured effects of eight projects located in California, Florida, Maryland,
Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

Other samples of new documents in the collection:

Mark Imerman and L. L. Libby. Web decision maker: an administrative tool to aid in the conversion of Extension publications for Internet delivery.  Rural Data Project, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  March 1998.  65 pp.

Duncan Hilchey and Nathan Leonard. Cultivating farm, neighbor and community relations: creative approaches for reduced farm-related land-use conflict.  Community Agriculture Development Series, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.  1996.  15 pp.

Professional meetings scheduled.

Here are the approaching meetings of several professional agricultural communicator organizations:

May 28-30
East Region Meeting, National Association of Farm Broadcasters, at Indianapolis, Indiana.
Contact:  Gary Truitt at 317-843-9300

June 6-9
Annual Institute, Cooperative Communicators Association, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Contact:  Raymond Crouch or Stephanie Smith at 817-548-5206

June 14-17
National Extension Technology Conference at St. Louis, Missouri.
Contact:  Dave Klostermann at

June 25-27
West Region Meeting, National Association of Farm Broadcasters, at Choteau, Montana.
Contact: Brent Stanghelle at 406-761-7600

July 12-14
Summer Seminar, Agricultural Relations Council at Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Contact:  Paul Weller at 202-785-6710

July 14-19
Annual Conference, Agricultural Communicators in Education, at Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California.

Is that bull safe?

A man climbed over a farmer’s fence to pick some wildflowers when he noticed a bull in a field nearby.
“Hey,” he called to the farmer.  “Is that bull safe?”
“He’s a whole lot safer than you are,” replied the farmer.    (Author unknown)

Best regards and good searching.

Please let us know if we can help you find information and/or if you can suggest documents that we might add to this collection.

ACDC News – Issue 98-05

Some of the new documents. 

Here are samples of recently published documents being added this month to the collection of literature about agricultural communications:

      Adoption rates for selected crop management practices: 
      implications for precision farming

      Rates of return to public investment in agricultural research and 

      Rural data, people, and policy: information systems for the 21st
      century  (book review)

      Consumption risk, farm characteristics, and soil conservation 
      adoption among low-income farmers in the Philippines

      Determinants of co-operative patronage in Alberta  (Canada)

      The bST debate: the relationship between awareness and acceptance 
      of technological advances

      The role of husbands and wives in farm technology choice

      Potential effects of information technologies on the economic 
      performance of agricultural and food markets

Please notify us by e-note ( if you would like to arrange to see these documents and do not have access to them locally.

Laura Cheline joined the Documentation Center 

As a part-time student assistant. A junior in agricultural communications here at the University of Illinois, Laura comes from North Henderson, Illinois. She is pursuing the advertising option of her curriculum and, after graduation, is interested in writing copy and carrying out other marketing communications activities with an agricultural business.

“I hope to learn more about the agricultural communications field through the journals and items we collect for the Center,” Laura explains. “I also hope to keep up to date on what is going on in the field.”

“They’re respectful and hard-working.  

They’re pulled in a million directions,” said Pamela Karg, president of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA), when she reported recently to fellow members about her interactions with students in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) organization.

“They thirst for any little kernels of knowledge we possess. ACT members consider CCA a ‘parent organization.’ I think that makes each of us responsible for helping raise the child to become a well-rounded, thoughtful, trusted, inquisitive, honest and professional adult.”

President Karg ( encouraged CCA members to work with and help these college students. As she put it: “One generation to the next. Each one learning from and teaching the other. That’s what makes viable cooperatives – and communicators.”

Professional meetings scheduled.

Here are the approaching meetings of several professional agricultural communicator organizations:

April 30        Lunch Conference, Rural Media Association of South
                Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.
                Contact:  Bruce Mitchell at

May 3-6         North Central Regional Meeting, Agricultural Communicators 
                in Education, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

June 6-9        Annual Institute, Cooperative Communicators Association,
                Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Contact:  Raymond Crouch or
                Stephanie Smith at 817-548-5206

June 14-17      National Extension Technology Conference, St. Louis,
                Contact: Dave Klostermann at

The independent farm life.

A young daughter was exploring with her father the subject of private enterprise.
“Tell me, Dad.” she said. “Does owning your own farm make you more independent?”
“It sure does. I get to work any time I want to before 7 in the morning and leave whenever I feel like it any time after 10 at night.”

Best regards and good searching.

Please let us know if we can help you find information and/or if you can suggest documents that we might add to this collection.

ACDC News – Issue 98-04

Benchline study on agricultural journalism education.

Thanks to Richard Lee and Mark Tucker of the University of Missouri, our collection now contains an important benchmark study of agricultural journalism education in the United States. A copy of the document arrived recently:Clyde H. Duncan, “An evaluation of the agricultural journalism curriculum in land grant colleges.”Master’s thesis, University of Missouri, June 1957. 201 pages.

Among the topics featured:

Origins of agricultural journalism education.Curricula recommendations of professional agricultural journalists.What the teachers say and recommend.Courses that made successful agricultural journalists.Past and present agricultural journalism curricula comparisons.Where agricultural journalism is taught.Recent developments in agricultural journalism curricula planning.Summation and conclusions.

Let us know if you would like to arrange to see this document or get information from it.

More INTERPAKS documents being added.

This month we are adding dozens of documents from the reference library of the International Program for Agricultural Knowledge Systems (INTERPAKS) of the University of Illinois. As the program name implies, these documents involve the communications aspects of agricultural and rural development, globally. For example, here are some of the documents that we are adding:

Urban bias and food policy in poor countries.The role of extension agents in Upper Volta and Zaire.Strengthening extension for development: some current issues.When people don’t come first: some sociological lessons from completed projects.Promoting the participation of women in food marketing and credit.Training needs of information services in agricultural research and educational organizations in Asia:a 9-country survey.

Professional meetings scheduled.

Here are the approaching meetings of several U.S. professional agricultural communicator organizations.

April 15-17, 1998       Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show at Hyatt
                        Regency Dallas, Dallas, Texas.
                        Conference hotline: 1-800-530-5646

May 3-6, 1998           North Central Regional Meeting, Agricultural
                        Communicators in Education (ACE) at Ramkota Inn,
                        Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
                        Contact:  Larry Tennyson at

June 6-9, 1998          Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators
                        Association at La Fonda On The Plaza, Santa Fe,
                        New Mexico.   
                        Contacts:  Raymond Crouch or Stephanie Smith at

Not what he meant.

Farmer: “Do you realize I have taken you safely over all the rough spots of life?”Wife: “Yes, I don’t think you’ve missed a single one.”

Best regards and good searching.

ACDC News – Issue 98-03

Creating Super Newsletters.

That’s the title of a new seven-module training curriculum designed to help Extension workers and others produce successful newsletters. This 242-page resource was published during 1997 by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (U.S.), with Melanie Spencer as preparer. It is one of the most comprehensive and useful newsletter resources we have seen. The modules include:

Module 1:       Newsletter basics: what to do first
Module 2:       Creating newsletter copy
Module 3:       Laying out and designing a newsletter
Module 4:       Great graphics
Module 5:       Producing your newsletter
Module 6:       Marketing and distributing your newsletter
Module 7:       Evaluating your newsletter     

The printed resource is identified within our collection as Document #CO8818.

You can arrange to review or purchase the curriculum in ring binder or disk forms by contacting the Publications Office, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, at 207-581-3269. Preparer Melanie Spencer can be reached

Serving worldwide.

We are pleased that Internet users from 67 countries gathered information last year from this web site. During 1997, users from an average of 26 countries gathered information from the site each month. That is more than double the average number of countries from which searchers visited during the year earlier.

Wherever you live, please let us know if we can help you find information about communications related broadly to agriculture.

“Agricultural magazines are alive and well,”

Says a headline in the Winter 1998 issue of the ACTion Newsletter, published by the American Association of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

In the article Gregg Hillyer, president of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, notes: “When radio first hit the airwaves, many proclaimed that farmers would tune out magazines. Then television came along and similar predictions were heard. Today, the Internet and electronic news services are the latest mediums to try to render farm magazines a relic of the past.

“But farm magazines have never been stronger,” he argues. “Nor has a career in agricultural communication held so much promise.” Why? Rapid changes in agricultural technology. Restructuring of agribusiness. A global marketplace. Ever-growing world population.

“In the environment, farmers rely even more on farm magazines to help them through the maze of uncertainty and change.”

Let us know if you would like to see this article and do not have local access to it.

New administrative home.

The Agricultural Communications Documentation Center recently became part of the Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Unit of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences here at the University of Illinois. This is a natural partnership and we look forward to working together to serve you.

Welcome – and thanks.

Welcome to Paul Hixson of ITCS as new administrator of the Documentation Center. He replaces Bob Hays, agricultural communications faculty member who retires this year. Paul will add much to progress here. Thanks to Bob for excellent service to the Center, from its beginning in the early 1980s.

Different gauges.

“Did you get much rain last year?” a tourist asked a local farmer.
“Not much,” replied the farmer, “but my neighbor had a lot more rain than I had.”
“How could he?” inquired the astounded visitor.
“He has more land than I have.”

Best regards and good searching.

ACDC News – Issue 98-02

New link to rural media.

You will see a new listing this month on our page of links related to agricultural communications. It is the web site of the Rural Media Association of South Australia (RMASA), an association of rural journalists and others in the rural sector of South Australia who deliver information of interest or benefit to the rural community. You will find on the site current information about goals, activities and committees of the organization.

Please let us know if you are aware of other professional rural communicator groups with web sites not yet included in our page of related links.

How the public feels about the safety of food.

A survey report deposited recently in the Documentation Center sheds light on current public opinion about food safety. The document is: “Food safety survey revealing: study shows consumer acceptance of irradiation increasing,” Food Safety Digest, November/December 1997.

CMF&Z Public Relations conducted this survey among U.S. consumers and editors who cover food and food safety issues. Results suggest that consumers are becoming more concerned about the safety of food. The study also identifies food safety issues of greatest concern to consumers and shows sharp differences between consumers and editors on why food safety is becoming more important.

Let us know if you would like to see this report and do not have access to it, locally.

Fifth book published. 

Professor Bob Hays, agricultural communications faculty member and coordinator of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center here at the University of Illinois, recently published his fifth book. It is entitled A Race at Bay: New York Times Editorials on “the Indian Problem,” 1860-1990 (Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 1997. 357 pp.)

Through analysis of editorials in the Times, Hays examines what the newspaper commonly referred to over a 40-year period as “the Indian Problem.” The paper published nearly a thousand editorials about Native Americans between 1860 and 1900. Hays analyzes how editors addressed major aspects of the subject: status of the Indian, national Indian policy, the chiefs, massacres, treaties, public opinion, role of the press and others.

Over the 40-year period,

Hays reports, Times editors found public apathy and ignorance on the topic, plus a prevailing public opinion quite different from their own. He observes that by 1900 the paper “had come full circle in its philosophy concerning the Native American as ward of the nation.” Early editorial concerns that often centered on “thieving, murdering Indians” had shifted over the 40 years toward broken promises, land-grabbing settlers, graft and incompetence in government services, unfair taxes, flawed public policies and other injustices to Native Americans.

“I hope the retelling adds something to our understanding of why things are the way they are,” Hays explains, in describing the intent of this book. “If we understand better how we got here, we may be better prepared to decide where we ought to go next.”

“The shoemaker’s children are going barefoot,”

Observes Mark Stober, an agricultural marketing communicator who works with Dudnyk Advertising and Public Relations. He is a former president of the American Association of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

Stober notes that communications in agriculture is changing rapidly, but he wonders if anyone is chronicling and analyzing the changes. His interest is more than academic in nature. He notes that, early in his career, he gained valuable perspective from studies of developments in rural media. The studies helped him understand the historic underpinnings of some of the communications organizations and changes that he has seen.

He wonders who are generating research to help today’s young agricultural communicators understand and respond to the many changes they see around them.

Make mine well done. 

Yes, it is true that some folks in midwestern America like their steaks cooked thoroughly. A sign above the kitchen door of one small-town restaurant in central Illinois reads: “When the smoke alarm goes off, it’s done.”

Best regards and good searching.

ACDC News – Issue 98-01

Greetings to you as we begin a new year.

Those of us who work in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center wish you the best and hope that we can help you locate information to strengthen your communications efforts during the year ahead.

Finding agricultural software marketers.

We extend special thanks to Warren Clark of Clark Consulting International, Kathy Gill of eNet Digest and Ron McMullin of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. They helped the Documentation Center provide information to a recent inquirer who was looking for lists of agricultural software suppliers.

“Show us your impact,” 

The public asks of organizations, with increasing intensity. We often hear this demand voiced in terms of “accountability,” “value-added” and “cost-effectiveness.” Throughout the public and private sectors, organizations are scrambling to demonstrate their value.

Why do we see so little research

About the economic value of agricultural information? Agricultural communications research often deals with “upstream” matters such as documentation of communications problems and descriptions of techniques used for communicating. Sometimes the research helps assess readership levels or other indicators of exposure to messages. Occasionally, studies measure knowledge gain, attitude change, intentions or other kinds of behavioral change associated with communications. Seldom do they address the economic impacts of such efforts, the “downstream” aspects that are basic indicators of effectiveness and value.

Gwil Evans of Oregon State University wonders

If agricultural college communicators’ lack of attention to accountability hasn’t been at least in part the consequence of a parallel lack of attention (until recently) by administrative leaders. “I think that may reflect some complacency growing out of the many years of stable or growing budgets. But it is a new era, and new thinking is called for.”

As noted in Issue 97-2 

Of “News and Announcements,” members of Cooperative Communications Association (CCA) are addressing this same matter. Through a research program, they plan to identify tools that cooperative communicators can use to measure how their efforts influence business success.

Please let us know

By e-note if you have thoughts about how communicators in agriculture can more effectively assess what they do, in terms of economic impact and value.

Twelve low-budget tools

For communicating the benefits of cooperative organizations to members were identified in the lead article of the January issue of Cooperative Communicators Association News. The author, Doug DiMento of Agri-Mark, Inc., briefly describes practical ways in which to use existing information systems (such as voice mail and fax systems) more fully and to “seek the help of others to tell your story.” Let us know if you’d like to see the article, or check with CCA.

A recent dissertation explores communications aspects of chemical risk.

The Documentation Center recently added a doctoral dissertation that examines farm operators’ perceptions of risk from agricultural chemical usage. The citation: Mark A. Tucker, “The influence of social-learning factors on farm operators’ perceptions of agricultural-chemical risk in the Ohio Darby Creek Hydrologic Unit.” The Ohio State University, 1995. Mark Tucker( heads the teaching program in agricultural journalism at the University of Missouri.

Keeping on top of things.

Recently we noticed this little sign posted in the café of a west central Illinois town: “There’s not much to see in a small town, but what you hear makes up for it.” Have you seen any good signs lately? Let us know.

Best regards and good searching.