ACDC News – Issue 12-03

When the food label says “Best Before.” Consumer confusion sets in, according to a news report we have added to the ACDC collection from Ottawa, Canada. It explained that consumers are throwing away lots of good food because they don’t understand what the Best Before date means.

“Most of us see them as expiration dates, when they’re often anything but,” said reporter Angela Mulholland of, “In fact, a Best Before date says nothing about the safety of a food.” She explained that the Best Before dates are only an indicator of the quality of the product – in terms of how long it will maintain its optimum taste and texture.

You can read the document at:

What “sustainable agriculture” means to high school agriculture teachers. This widely-used expression takes on many dimensions. We recently added to the ACDC collection a Journal of Sustainable Agriculture article that reported on beliefs of high school agriculture teachers in 12 north-central U.S. states. Here are the top six aspects of sustainability on which they agreed:

  • Development of healthy soils is important to sustainable agriculture.
  • It conserves natural resources for the benefit of future generations.
  • Crop rotation is important to sustainability.
  • It promotes recycling of renewable natural resources.
  • It values nature for its own sake.
  • Agricultural knowledge from Extension is important for its success.

You can read the publisher’s abstract of the article at: Or check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Advice to researchers: Focus on the agricultural press. In a European Journal of Communication article, Olivier Baisnée observed that most research conducted about the European public sphere has been heavily influenced by a definition promoted by the European Union (EU) institutions themselves. It has emphasized information about the EU in national media. However, he noted, the public of the EU is sectoral and highly selective, socially and economically. Nor are all the actors located within EU official boundaries.

“Paradoxically, it seems rather clear that some of the social groups most involved are not the most frequently mentioned. Farmers and fishermen, for example, are much more involved in the [European public sphere] than most of the rest of the population. Then the question remains, instead of focusing only on national media would it not also be (more) interesting to study the specialized press directed to those who really take part in the political debates about European issues? In practical terms, that means studying the specialized press relevant to EU policy processes: e.g. business dailies, international publications, publications on agriculture, and the fishing industry.”

View the abstract here: Check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Helpful resources about “when the digital data die.”

Thanks to Professor Chris Morgan, University of Georgia, for suggesting these websites that may be helpful for those interested in preserving digital materials:

“Care and handling of CDs and DVDs – a guide for librarians and archivists”

“The Archival Advisor”

“CD and DVD Archiving”

Guidelines for assessing risks of poor animal welfare . Journalists and communicators who cover animal agriculture may find interest in a new resource that came to our attention. “Guidance on risk assessment for animal welfare” was published during January by the European Food Safety Authority. An accompanying glossary defines the terms used.

You can read the document at:

How careers in agricultural journalism are born (by accident). During the 2011 IFAJ Congress we appreciated meeting Henry Heald. Now retired, Henry is an honorary life member of the Eastern Canadian Farm Writers Association and Ontario Institute of Agrologists.

“My experience in the Parliamentary Press Gallery led me into agriculture reporting,” he explains in his chapter of a new book, Media Values . We added it recently to the ACDC collection. How did he land there? He recalls being in a line-up of Canadian Press reporters, getting their assignments for covering government affairs.

“Heald, you’re Agriculture.”

You can read the publisher’s description of the book here:

Communicator activities approaching.

  • March 22-23, 2012
    Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Information:
  • April 16-18, 2012
    “Sustainable Human Development.” The World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) in New Delhi, India. Organized by the International Federation for Information Processing. Will focus on four key areas: agriculture, education, health, and e-governance. Information:
  • April 18-20, 2012
    “Acres of Innovation.” 2012 conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:
  • June 2-5, 2012
    “Adventures in Communications.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA. Information:
  • June 11-14, 2012
    “Charting a New Course.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Examining the (rural) roots of broadcasting . We close this issue of ACDC News with something we added recently to the collection. A Journal of Radio Studies article included this observation by Layne Beaty, a pioneering farm broadcaster in the U.S.:

“It may be coincidental that the first use of “broadcasting” was agricultural, referring to the sowing of seeds. It is nonetheless fitting because in the early days of radio when rural people lived in varying degrees of isolation, radio became a link to the outside world and a live-in companion for farmers and their families.”

Best wishes 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 Comm Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to