ACDC News – Issue 13-15

Big communications gap between consumer scientists and food technologists.

It helps account for a failure rate of about 70-80 percent in the introduction of new food products, according to researchers M. Ragona, M. Raley, S.J. Sijtsema and L.J. Frewer. With funding from the European Commission, they conducted a Delphi survey aimed at identifying potential barriers and success factors at various stages of the food technology development process. Among the barriers that participants identified:

  • Theoretical and linguistic differences across these disciplines were the most commonly mentioned barrier to communications. For example, consumer scientists were more likely to agree that food technologists find it difficult to interpret consumer information, whereas food technologists were more likely to agree that consumer information is not specific enough for them to use.
  • Inadequate communication between consumer scientists and food technologists was commonly regarded as a barrier to inclusion of consumer science data into product development.
  • Poor (often late) timing was cited in getting information from consumer scientists to food technologists when key decisions are being made.

Authors suggested seven key priorities for improving communications among key players in the food technology development process.

You can read this conference paper at: .

“Why the internet is so dangerous to real democracy”

Our wide-ranging search for information about agricultural communications often leads us to thought-stirring perspectives. We call attention here to an article in the journal, Democracy and Nature . Authors Matt Hern and Stu Chaulk analyze the internet as inherently degrading of local community and the possibility of real democracy emerging.

“In a better culture, in a saner social environment, it is thoroughly possible that the internet could be widely used usefully, ecologically, and wisely. To be sure, there is much of our culture well worth replacing; the Net however, displaces the wrong things. It advances speed, access to more information, efficiency, and private isolation. None of these are currently lacking, while it degrades that which desperately requires nurturing; family, community, home, public space, common discourse, and local places. A virtual future is a future to be feared.”

You can read this article at:

Farmers and extension services—keys to agricultural innovation

Case studies, interviews and SWOT workshops with experts underlined the vital role of farmers and extension services in agricultural innovation systems. A team of researchers in Germany found that “the role of farmers in innovation processes is not restricted to (‘passive’) adoption. Rather, some farmers act as lead users, such as in research and development in precision farming. They provide qualified detailed feedback to suppliers and formulate needs that lead to new innovation processes.”

The neutral, networking functions of Extension services, experiment stations and their publications also emerged as important. “In the case studies on precision farming and energy in horticulture, a lack of neutral information about the benefits of innovations and information on their implementation was mentioned as a relevant gap, an issue of particular importance in the highly specialized horticultural subsector.”

These current findings are consistent with a large body of research and experience across the decades and across the globe.

You can read this paper from a 2012 seminar of the European Association of Agricultural Economics (EAAE) at:

Using metaphors, analogies and similes to create agri-images

Thanks to Ann Wylie for alerting us (and other readers of ByLine from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association) to a website—GistOut—that identifies topic-based metaphors, analogies, and similes. Here are a few examples related to communications and agriculture:

“Facebook is like a potato chip. It gives you information, but not enough to satisfy you, so you keep looking.”

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”

“Communication in a family business is like location in real estate. It’s everything.”

“Learning photography is like learning a new language.”

You can visit GistOut and scout for examples at:

What is the best way to get successful research results taken up by farmers?

Geoffrey Moss of Moss Associates Ltd. In Wellington, New Zealand, would like some feedback to that simple question. He has long career interest that prompts the question and international experience that guides his thoughts.

“I once asked many knowledgeable people this question in New Zealand. Their opinions were many and varied. It was not reading about the results of trials; it was not seeing how it was done on a TV programme; it was not seeing a demonstration at a field day on a research station; it was simply seeing how a local farmer was getting better results.

“Small groups of farmers, sharing their knowledge and experiences and often their equipment, can make a rapid advance in agricultural production. This is an area the extension worker should target with demonstrations and trials to show new farming techniques or new varieties of plants and animals.

“Organizing small groups of farmers to regularly visit each other’s farms would be my first choice. This was the basic technique used in Taiwan when they turned their country around from a food importing country to a food exporting country. Small discussion groups have a good track record in many countries.”

We appreciate these insights from Geoffrey Moss and welcome your thoughts about answering this question. Send them to us at

Communicator activities approaching

  • 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:

On the 2013 List of Banished Words

We close this issue of ACDC News with two agricultural terms among 12 that deserve to be banished, according to nominations selected for the 38 th annual list from Lake Superior State University. This program highlights words to be banished from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness. The words related to agriculture include:

  • Superfood
  • Boneless wings

Topping the total list so far this year:

  • Fiscal cliff
  • Kick the can down the road

You can read the full 2013 list and learn how to enter your own nominations at:

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