ACDC News – Issue 14-05

Stars using music video to promote agriculture

Thanks to Kathy Alison, senior training adviser of Training Resources Group, Inc., for alerting us to a new music video called “Cocoa is Chocolate.” It was produced by the foundation as part of a pan-African campaign aimed at African youth to encourage them to work in agriculture. “Their message is simple: agriculture in Africa has the potential to provide food, create jobs, and boost economies, but African leaders need to invest now,” a report on the ONE website explains.

Nineteen performers in the 4:37 video include some of the most popular artists from Africa. They represent the biggest music collaboration in Africa’s history and their video features 11 different languages.

You can view the 4:37 video at:

You can learn more about the “Do Agric” campaign at:

How to view erratic adoption and use of decision support systems in farming

Is it due to advanced age of farmers? Lack of computer literacy? Complexity or poor design of such systems? Take another view, suggested Australian researchers Bill Long and Kevin Parton in a paper they presented at the 2013 conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network.

More than 50 percent of Australian farmers employ consultants to assist in decision making, the researchers reported. Farm consultants are the main users of Decision Support Systems, and once they understand the main principles they discontinue use. “Developers of DSS should target consultants and users and accept discontinued use of DSS as success,” the authors concluded.

You can read an abstract of “Decision Support Systems (DSS) – Where success is failure of continued use” at: > “Conference Program and Abstracts” or check with the lead author at about access to the full paper.

Building confidence among food buyers

Thanks to John Blue of Truffle Media Networks for alerting us to a SwineCast presentation from a recent conference of the National Institute of Animal Agriculture. This video presentation explained how a regional grocery chain, Heinen’s Fine Foods, works and communicates to instill confidence among customers. Presenter Tom Heinen addressed aspects such as:

  • Trends in retail food marketing
  • What’s important to customers these days
  • How the firm addresses customer questions and concerns

You can view this presentation (24:22) at:

More evidence of economic payback from public extension

“We find that extension activities, road density and R&D [research and development] spill-ins play an important role in enhancing the benefit of public R&D investment.” That conclusion was reported in 2012 by a team of researchers who used 1980-2004 panel data to estimate the contributions of public research to growth of agricultural productivity in the U.S.

In this analysis, a 10 percent increase in extension activities increased the local internal rate of return, on average, by 1.4 percentage points. That is, in one model a 10 percent increase in extension service raised the local internal rate of return on agricultural R&D from 10.75 percent to 12.15 percent.

You can read the report, which was presented at the International Association of Agricultural Economists triennial conference in Brazil: .

The ethics of photographing locals

That is the title of a recent commentary by Christie Long in the website of She identified two concerns that tourists should consider. The concerns extend beyond tourists.

  • “Objectifying” local people through photos taken of them in their homes, going about their daily lives. “Consider your intent and whether that is fair on your subject.”
  • Privacy and safety of local residents photographed. Taking a photograph, even with the person’s permission, can be dangerous, especially in the context of online posting and sharing of photos. “Hold their privacy and safety in the highest regard.”

The author notes that most international and grassroots organizations that work with local communities, particularly those working with children, have policies and procedures in place to protect their beneficiaries from abuse and exploitation.

You can read this information at:

Please let us know ( ) if you would like for us to help identify some of these policies and procedures for your own use, or within your organization.

Missing link in reporting about climate change

S. Gopikrishna Warrier, regional manager-environment with Panos South Asia, is pointing attention to a gap in the narrative about climate change. “The issue of climate change and global warming are still vague for the uninitiated,” the author explains. “That is still because the reader cannot link between the developments that he experiences in his day-to-day life to something related to a warming world and discussions that experts have in international meetings. … How the macro links the micro and vice versa is mostly lost in the reporting.”

“As a result, the media misses an opportunity to discuss climate change in relation to local issues. In turn, the public and the policy makers miss out on such a discussion.”

You can see two of the author’s recent commentaries about this missing link here:

Communicator activities approaching

A caution to those who report living history

We close this issue of ACDC News with Lyla Baradam’s challenge to environmental journalists about the perspectives they take in reporting It’s an African proverb:

“Till the lions have their own historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.”

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 .