ACDC News – Issue 14-03

Farmers using smartphone self portraits

Thanks to Natalie Bosecker for helping us begin to track a popular new activity, which the Irish Farmers Journal is reported to have kicked off during December. The activity is reflected in headlines of these sample articles, which feature some photos farmers have taken of themselves:

Eight new research reports from JAC

The final 2013 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications featured eight research articles. Several addressed uses of visuals and video for reporting on topics such as climate change, production agriculture, planting methods, health and nutrition. Others ranged across media portrayals of agriculture, community supported agriculture, and how agri-marketers view corporate social responsibility.

You can read these articles in Issue 4 of Volume 97 at:

  • “Picturing the underserved audience: Photovoice as method in applied communication research” by Abigail S. Borron.
  • “A case study of the crisis communications used in the 2009 salmonella outbreak in peanut products” by Erica Irlbeck, Jessica Fry Jennings, Courtney Meyers, Courtney Gibson, and Todd Chambers.
  • “Recruiting and retaining shareholders for community supported agriculture in Texas” by Kelsey Hall, Courtney Meyers, David Doerfert, Cindy Akers, and Phillip Johnson.
  • “Using video as a replacement or complement for the traditional lecture/demonstration method in agricultural training in rural Uganda” by Tian Cai, and Eric Abbott.
  • “NAMA members’ perceptions of corporate social responsibility” by Lacy M. Muntean, Traci L. Naile and Greer Gill.
  • “Perceptions of global and domestic agricultural issues held by international agricultural journalists” by Laura Kubitz, Ricky Telg, Tracy Irani, and Owen Roberts.
  • “Agriculture at eleven: Visual rhetoric and news media portrayals of agriculture” by Annie R. Specht and Tracy Rutherford.
  • “Planning and evaluating science video programs using communication science” by Joseph Cone and Kirsten Winters.

Estimating the cost of an extension event

In this era of tight budgets and cost recovery, George W. Morse, University of Minnesota, recently developed a useful tool for estimating the cost of developing and delivering an extension event. His Extension Economics Note also explores ways to estimate the cost per person and how this cost changes as the scale of the program increases.

You can retrieve his report at:

Australian agriculture needs social media activism

[Thanks to Gordon Collie of AGRI-Prose, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, for this summary of a presentation during October at the Australian Lot Feeders Association Beefworks Conference.]

Australian agriculture has been challenged to take to the social media to publicly defend its image. Leading communications consultant, Tim Powell has struck a chord in the rural community with his call for a new brand of rural activism.

Powell, who is president of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists, suggests a new pro-rural communications lobby might be called EatUP! His word play relates to one of the most visible social campaigning groups in Australia called GetUP!  He makes the point that animal welfare groups enjoy an enormous social media following and raise thousands of dollars in campaign funding through channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

It was time, he said, for the Australian rural sector to develop its own “crowd funding” platform so farmers and city-based supporters could run campaigns promoting agriculture.

You can read a more detailed report of this presentation, “Ag’s social media challenge.” It was written by James Nason and posted on, at:

Unhealthy food messages on cable tv for tweens

That finding appeared in a study reported early this year in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior . Researchers identified food-related scenes (food shown, mentioned and/or consumed) in nearly 880 minutes of “Disney Channel” cable television for 11- to 14-year-olds. Findings demonstrated significant presence of food—more than 16 food-related scenes per hour in the six programs. Nearly half of the food items did not fit into any food group of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid; they were considered “other,” contributing “empty calories.” Researchers found the findings especially disconcerting because television is only one of the media forms shaping the food attitudes and behaviors of youngsters at that age.

You can read this journal article at:

Five tips for multitasking in environmental reporting

We have added to the ACDC collection an article by freelancer Adam Hinterthuer, “Juggling chainsaws, torches, and watermelons: How to manage multiple assignments.” He offered five tips he has learned from his time in the circus:

  • Set deadlines for everything.
  • Don’t tune in but do drop out. “Sometimes I have to (gasp!) close my web browser, turn off my phone and focus on the tasks at hand.”
  • Create a flexible workplace.
  • Lower your expectations.
  • Don’t do it. “Perhaps the real secret to juggling jobs is not to do it all that much.”

You can read this article in the Society of Environmental Journalists newsletter at:

Communicator activities approaching

  • April 6-8, 2014
    Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists in Washington, D. C.
  • April 9-11, 2014
    “A fresh perspective.” 2014 Agri-Marketing Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • April 27-May 1, 2014
    Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Miami, Florida.
  • June 24-27, 2014
    Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Portland, Oregon.

Great example of social media communications in agriculture

We close this issue with special thanks to ACDC Associate Liz Harfull in South Australia for alerting us recently with that message heading. She called attention to the “Wild Radish Song,” a parody based on a hit, “Somebody I Used to Know.” The song runs 3:15 and features Bill Long, a farmer and agronomic consultant in South Australia. It is described as “a farmer’s lament on attempts to control wild radish resulting in the loss of chemical options to the point where only radical options are available.

“Got addicted to a certain kind of farming,” Bill Long sings, noting that the “game is nearly over. … Wish I’d been more thoughtful then.”

You can view this song 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 .