ACDC News – Issue 11-03

Rural women – still almost invisible on the global news scene. That seems the main message from Global Media Monitoring Project 2010, in terms of coverage related to agriculture. We have added to the ACDC collection a preliminary report that describes the media representations of women for one day (November 10, 2009) in 42 of 130 participating countries throughout the world. The report analyzed 6,902 news items and 14,044 subjects. Here are a few examples from the findings:

  • Women were subjects in only 12 percent of news items related to the rural economy, agriculture, farming practices, agricultural policy and land rights. This share was the lowest among all 52 story topics analyzed.
  • Women were central in only 1 percent of news items in this agriculture-related topic area – lowest among all 52 story topics.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of news items that involved women in this topic area reinforced gender stereotypes.

How producers gather information about precision farming technologies.

Research among U. S. cotton producers reveals how they use varied information sources in deciding about specific precision farming technologies to use. Findings of a study we added recently to the ACDC collection revealed, for example, that:

  • Overall, information from consultants and dealers, news media and university extension (delivered in publications and events) provided information most relevant to decisions about adopting precision farming technologies.
  • Information from the internet and university events was significantly associated with adoption of yield monitors with GPS.
  • Information from consultants, news media and university publications was associated with adoption of zone soil sampling technologies.

Ways to communicate “local” when your product is undifferentiated. Take the case of wheat, milk and other core commodities. Researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany, recently described two ways within the food chain to visualize and highlight some value-adding quality attributes of locally-grown wheat:

  • Use word clouds to visualize for grain buyers what wheat varieties are in specific storage facilities. For processing reasons, the more homogenous the batch, the more willing buyers may be to pay.
  • Use Google maps to highlight farms in the region from which specific batches of assured-quality (perhaps certified) wheat have been grown.

“Thomas Hargrove risked his life to feed world’s poor.” That recent headline in the Houston Chronicle newspaper announced the passing of an internationally known and respected agricultural science communicator. The international parts of this Texas native’s career included agricultural service during military conflict in Vietnam, communications leadership at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in the Philippines and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Colombia. While at CIAT he was captured and held captive for 11 months by guerilla forces. His experience formed the basis of a movie, “Proof of Life.”

You can read the article here .

Going mobile with IT toolkits for citizens. We have added to the ACDC collection a 2009 research report describing a citizen toolkit that includes many of the common tools used by professionals such as journalists, planners and scientists. The University of Illinois authors explained that cameras, camcorders, microphones, GPS units and laptop computer were chosen to support citizen professional activities that range from community-based participatory research to photovoice and digital storytelling.

Furthermore, the toolkit contained within a backpack can go wherever IT is needed at the moment.

You can learn more about the goals, components, tests and toolkit uses in this report .

Gap between thinking organic foods are better – and buying them. A recent article in Psychology and Marketing examined why consumers do not buy organic food regularly, despite their positive attitudes about it. Analysis of organic coffee, bread, fruit and flour buying revealed two other dimensions that help explain the limited accuracy of attitudes in predicting the consumption of organic foods:

  • In the case of some product categories (such as coffee) brand loyalty moderates the effects of attitudes toward organic foods.
  • Also, ideologically formed attitudes are not present in habitual, low-involvement shopping activities.

This article, “Product involvement in organic food consumption,” is available for online purchase from Wiley InterScience ( )

Communicator activities approaching

March 31, 2011
Registration for the International Society of Extension Education (INSEE) conference, “Innovative approaches for agricultural knowledge management: global extension experiences,” to take place November 9-12, 2011, in New Delhi, India.

April 13-15, 2011
“Harvesting Ideas 2011.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

May 26-30, 2011
Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Boston, Massachusetts USA.

June 10-14, 2011
Joint meeting of the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Denver, Colorado USA.

July 3-7, 2011
“Sustainable value chain agriculture for food security and economic development.” 2011 World Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Windhoek, Namibia.

Pssst. Wake up. The presentation is over. We have felt and expressed concern about some PowerPoint presentations (including several of our own creation). You know them – screen after screen filled with words, lists and “busy” charts, some not readable.

Thanks to Delmar Hatesohl for sharing an apt description of this dilemma. He reports having heard of a university specialist talking about an upcoming conference. The specialist said the committee had “planned a variety of activities so that the audience didn’t suffer death by PowerPoint.”

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to .

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ACDC News – Issue 11-02

How well do U.S. food exporters understand EU importers? Some shortfall appeared in recent research about trust in the fruit and vegetable trade. An international team of researchers conducted 21 interviews with importers in seven European countries and 14 interviews with exporters in the U.S. Among the findings reported in 2010:

  • U.S. exporters underestimated the importance of the product as a trust-building factor, especially in terms of product inspection as an indicator of quality.
  • They considered price to be the most important trust-building factor, although “this doesn’t seem to be of much importance for importers from the EU.”
  • They perceived that the reputation of their product is more important, as a trust-building factor, than EU importers reported it to be.
  • They placed higher value on personal relationships than did buyers in Europe.

Need help on the farm? Invite a crop mob. A special agricultural use of social media got attention in a USA Today article during the growing season last year. Reporter Judy Keen described a special kind of agritourism called crop mobs. The one featured in Missouri involved mostly urban volunteers who spend time working for a small-scale farmer, Chris Wimmer. In return, they learn about the food they consume and get tips about organic and sustainable farming.

Keen reported that more that 30 crop mobs have formed in the U.S. since 2008. Organizers use social media such as Facebook to enlist members and publicize gatherings.

Is the internet a better public sphere? This title of a recent article in New Media and Society introduced findings of a comparison of free, open and plural social communication in old and new media in the USA and Germany.

“No,” is the answer from authors Jürgen Gerhards and Mike S. Schäfer, even though internet communication has been expected by many to provide a better public sphere than “old” media such as newspapers, radio and television.

Their findings were based on newspaper and internet coverage involving some 1,900 articles about human genome research. Results showed “only minimal evidence to support the idea that the internet is a better communication space as compared to print media. In both media, communication is dominated by (bio- and natural) scientific actors; popular inclusion does not occur.” Authors noted that their findings parallel those reported in 2008 about coverage of genetically modified food.

How community newspapers are using social media. Publishers and editors of some community newspapers – large and small – in Kansas are embracing the community-building opportunities of Web 2.0. Les Anderson and Amy DeVault of Wichita State University reported several of those experiences at the 2009 symposium of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the National Newspaper Association Foundation: Blogging and Tweeting. Facebook accounts. YouTube. Cell phones. Citizen reporting. Finding stories. More .

List of “50 Best Farm and Agriculture Blogs.”, a resource for gaining degrees from accredited online colleges, recently posted this list during 2010. The 50 chosen blogs are organized within seven clusters: news and information, sustainable farming, farming big and small, international, livestock and ranching, agricultural science and agricultural politics and policy.

Lamb promotion yields $44 per dollar invested . Econometric research reported during early 2010 revealed a 44-to-1 return to promotion through the Lamb Checkoff Program of the U.S. lamb industry. Researchers explained that most of the promotion centered on consumer relations and food service activities. Print and broadcast media coverage of lamb chefs (“lambassadors”), satellite media tours, feature pages for local newspapers and media kits were among the methods used. Researchers concluded that lamb promotion has tended to enhance the demand for lamb over the years, despite a relatively low level of investment. More .

On being transparent and up-front with the food customer . Fedele Bauccio, chief executive officer of Bon Appétite Management Company, called for “a transparent dialogue with our customers” when he spoke at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum 2010. These are among the questions he said the dialogue should address:

  • Where does my food come from?
  • Who picks our agriculture? What is the human cost of feeding America?
  • What is your business carbon footprint?
  • Is the food safe?
  • What are the environmental effects and animal welfare aspects of concentrated animal feeding operations?

Communicator activities approaching

February 21-22, 2011
“The Perfect Ten.” Southern Region Workshop for members of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Charleston, South Carolina USA. “To enhance skills in writing, photography, layout and design, social media, creativity, media relations and much more – all presented in bite-sized, top-ten lists!”

February 23-25, 2011
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Fort Myers, Florida USA.

April 13-15, 2011″
Harvesting Ideas 2011.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Rural community art around the globe. We close this issue of ACDC News with some creative rural community art that came to our attention recently. The Western Australia organization, Bank of IDEAS (Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising Actions and Strategies), is sharing these images online. You will see community art that ranges across “Bulls” in New Zealand, edible landscapes in Malaysia, farm art in America, and memorial trees and interesting toilets in Australia.

Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to .

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can’t gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access. This is a document center and service, not merely an online citation database.