ACDC News – Issue 15-07


How agricultural producers view food exchange websites these days

Michael Vassalos and Kar Ho Lim recently updated insights about how producers of vegetables and livestock view food exchange websites and online marketplaces. Researchers gathered information from producers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. They used a choice experiment in conjunction with a latent class model formulation to analyze producers’ preferences and willingness to pay for the different features examined. Among the findings:

  • 77% were not interested in registering in food exchange websites. “This finding is not surprising considering that only 14% of the farms in the U.S.A. conduct agricultural marketing activities over the internet.”
  • Interested growers were willing to pay on average $55.69 per month if an online marketplace is offered on the website.
  • Willingness to pay for advertising on social media averaged $20.43 per month.
  • Producers were willing to pay more for the service if it is provided by a private for-profit host.

You can read “Are food exchange websites the next big thing in food marketing?” here .

“Extension must adopt mobile-friendly websites”

That is the title of an article published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Extension .  Authors J. Matthew Jones, David Doll and Owen Taylor found that visitors to the Almond Doctor Extension blog and are increasingly using smart phones and tablets rather than desktop computers.

“However, only 40% of Extension websites have mobile-friendly layouts, and websites that are frustrating to use on mobile devices may be a deterrent to Web traffic and use of services.”

You can read the article here .

New ways journalists can operate in politicized science debates

(and an endorsement for agricultural journalism education)

We have added to the ACDC collection a thoughtful new research report about this timely topic. The report pertained, in particular, to debates about food biotechnology, energy and climate change. Researchers Nesbet and Fahy identified three complementary approaches to “knowledge-based journalism:”

  • The journalist as knowledge broker
  • The journalist as dialog broker
  • The journalist as policy broker

They also pointed to need for journalism schools to rethink their traditional trade school focus on interviewing and storytelling skills. They cited an approach that involves helping students develop “subject” knowledge in specialized domains (such as environmental science), as well as “process” knowledge of the factors influencing their work as journalists and impacts on audiences.

You can read this article in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences here .

Where stakeholders in the Belgian food chain feel the most pressure

Recent research among food policy makers and other stakeholders in that chain revealed that economic, political and social pressures ranked as the top three pressure points on the food chain. Those pressures ranked higher than technological development, international trade, eating habits, environment and others.

Communications challenges were apparent throughout all “top three” pressure points.

  • Financial/Economic – challenges in communicating with authorities, sectors and enterprises about issues and added value
  • Political – challenges in lobbying, consulting with authorities and taking part in working groups
  • Social – challenges in answering questions from consumers and policy makers, and in informing and sensitizing consumers and operators via media and other means

You can read the abstract and identify retrieval options for this article in Food Research International here . Or check with us at for help in gaining access.

What if the focus of promoting agricultural products were shifted?

A recent article in the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics examined what might happen if public funds used for promoting horticultural products in export markets were shifted to domestic promotion. Simulation results showed that even modest decreases in export promotion expenditures coupled with a corresponding increase in domestic promotion efforts have the capacity to influence domestic market conditions, caloric intake and nutrient consumption.

Results indicated that such redirection would decrease producer welfare and increase consumer welfare. Decreasing export promotion coupled with increased domestic promotion for horticultural products would lead to a relatively small decrease in caloric consumption from non-horticultural products.  However, an increase in caloric consumption from horticultural products and corresponding increase in the intake of fiber and micronutrients may have positive dietary effects.

You can read the article, “Economic and nutritional implications from changes in U.S. agricultural promotion efforts,” here .

Voice-based citizen journalism in rural India

A recent issue of Information Technologies and International Development features an interactive voice forum for residents of rural communities in India.  Called DGNet Swara, the system enables callers to record messages of local interest. They also can listen to messages others have recorded. Increasing use of mobile phones opens new opportunities for this kind of interaction by voice. Messages are also posted on the Internet as a supplement to an existing discussion forum.

You can read “Emergent practices around CGNet Swara” here .

Thanks and best wishes, Kelsey

Congratulations to Kelsey Berryhill, graduate assistant in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, who recently completed her Master of Science Degree in Library and Information Science here at the University of Illinois. Her appointment in the Center ended June 30. We have much for which to thank Kelsey, who has special interest in archiving and special collections. During the past 15 months she managed and enhanced the website, gathered resources, handled requests and updated operating procedures. She also spearheaded processing of the new Volume 1 Number 1 collection of agricultural periodicals. We are grateful for her dedication, skills and good spirit. In turn, we hope the ACDC experience has enriched her career development.

Communicator activities approaching

September 24-27, 2015
Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) in Calgary, Saskatchewan, Canada.

October 1, 2015
Deadline for submitting full papers for the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists conference to take place in San Antonio, Texas, February 7-8, 2016.

October 8-12, 2014
“Hot topics.” An IFAJ pre-tour event in Cairns, Australia, hosted by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists. Participants will then fly to New Zealand via Sydney to attend the 2015 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Hamilton.

October 14-18, 2015
“Agribusiness – our life, our story.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Hamilton, New Zealand.

November 10-12, 2015
“Managing change innovation and action in an ever shrinking world.” Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Adelaide, South Australia.

Ode to the internet

We close this issue of ACDC News with an observation from Thomas E. Patterson in a 2012 article, “Informing the news: the need for knowledge-based reporting:”

“The internet is at once a gold mine of solid content
and a hell hole of misinformation.”

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