ACDC News – Issue 13-13

When cattle producers decide not to adopt recommended practices

Researchers at Oklahoma State University reported earlier this year on non-adoption of 13 commonly recommended management and marketing practices for cow-calf operations in their state. Responses from 1,453 producers revealed, for example:

  • Many of the producers were at least 51 years old, “meaning they may not want to adopt practices because they will be retiring soon.”
  • “The large percentage of small herd sizes and large percentage of producers who earned less than 20 percent of their income from the farm indicated most were now hobby-type producers.”
  • Training had significant influence for 13 of the 14 practices, indicating extension efforts are effective. Authors suggested that “future extension efforts will mostly be needed to educate producers on how to implement practices and the value of the practices.”

You can read this conference paper, “Non-adoption of best management practices,” at:

New journal issue highlights 100 years of ACE

A new issue of the Journal of Applied Communications features the centennial of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). The issue contains five commentaries and research articles, which you can read online in this open-access, peer-reviewed journal:

  • “Preparing for the next 150 years of agricultural communications”
    Commentary by Tracy Irani and David L. Doerfert
  • “Harnessing the science to strengthen communication of scientific findings”
    Commentary by K. Robert Kern
  • “Chalkboards to virtual environments: technology’s role in expanding the classroom to provide professional development and education for agricultural communicators”
    Research article by Theresa Pesl Murphrey, Tracy A. Rutherford, David L. Doerfert, Leslie D. Edgar, Don W. Edgar and Holli Leggette
  • “The evolution of the agricultural communications degree program at Texas Tech University: a historical perspective”
    Research article by Chelsey Ann Ahrens and Courtney Gibson
  • “Understanding whence we came: role of the Association for Communication Excellence in the development of agricultural communications during the past century— and future implications”
    Research article by D. Dwayne Cartmell II and James F. Evans

Crappy vs. Snappy photos

Thanks to Donna Abernathy for alerting us (and other readers of the Cooperative Communicators Association newsletter, Communiqué ) to a source of graphic evidence about photo composition and lighting. Mining and industrial photographer James Hodgins of Ontario, Canada, features side-by-side comparisons in a Crappy vs. Snappy section of his website. Visitors see his photos and those of clients who accompany him on a shoot.

No agricultural photos are in the comparisons we saw. However, the photo techniques he uses seem relevant to lots of agricultural equipment, facilities, settings and operations. You can view the Crappy vs. Snappy showcase at:

Relationship between science communication and agricultural communication

Prof. Katie Abrams addressed that relationship in an article published recently by the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk (ComSHER) Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

“I’ve pondered the disconnect I see between ag comm and sci comm,” she explained. “Well, after casually connecting with several others about the matter, I firmly believe it’s worth reigniting attention and thought.” Her article reveals some of the historical, organizational, conceptual and cultural dimensions of this relationship. It also introduces possible ways in which those interested might interact and build bridges.

You can read the article here .

Farmers using social media to avoid food waste

In a recent Voice of America broadcast, Rachel Dornhelm cited United Nations data suggesting that one-third of all food fails to make it from farm to table. She described the efforts of a California food producer, Nick Papadopoulos, who decided to try to avoid seeing a weekend’s worth of farmers’ market produce spoil before the next market day. He uses the farm’s Facebook presence to announce fresh food available at a deep discount. Dornhelm’s report also mentions use of apps and websites that connect farms with food banks.

“Gleaning food from farms is a centuries old tradition,” Papadopoulos explained, “but it’s time to do it with 21 st Century tools.”

You can read the report at:

“Who tops the social media (fast) food chain?”

Morgan J. Arnold asked (and answered) that question in a February posting on Social Media Today. We’re talking about Facebook fans totaling as many as 27 million.

Who would you put on a list of Top Five social media marketers among the fast food chains? You can identify Arnold’s list at:

Imprinted like ducklings with the sound of their mother’s call

That’s how Prof. Niels Röling described much current policy thinking about innovation for agricultural and rural development. He shared this perspective in a chapter of the 2009 book, Innovation Africa: enriching farmers’ lives , which we have added to the ACDC collection.

“Policy thinking about innovation tends to be dominated by the linear model of technology supply push, partly because no other model promises such desirable macro-economic impacts. Yet this model has only very limited applicability in African conditions and has not led to significant development, let alone to poverty reduction,” he said. “Many people who are practically involved in promoting agricultural innovation have little ability to think conceptually about innovation as such. They are as imprinted with the linear model as ducklings are with the sound of their mothers’ call.”

Check with us at if you would like help in gaining access to this resource.

Communicator activities approaching

  • September 1-5, 2013
    Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina. Information:
  • September 18-20, 2013
    Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) in Park City, Utah. Information:
  • October 4-6, 2013
    “Big agriculture in a small setting.” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) at Harrison Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia. Information:
  • October 18, 2013
    Deadline for submitting research and professional papers to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists meeting in Dallas, Texas, February 1-4, 2014. Contact: Craig Gautreaux at .
    Information about the Section:
  • November 6, 2013
    Deadline for submitting posters to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section (above). To feature innovative ideas and research in agricultural communications. Contact: Frankie Gould at .
  • November 13-15, 2013
    “Farm broadcasting: Intrusive Success.” Annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:

More ambiguities in agri/food headlines

We close this issue of ACDC News with several more “supposed actual newspaper headlines” that have caught the attention of Prof. Ernest Barreto of the Nonlinear Science Group at George Mason University.

“Farmer bill dies in House”

“Chef throws his heart into helping feed needy”

“Cold wave linked to temperatures”

“New study of obesity looks for larger test group”

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