ACDC News – Issue 17-03


Artists can scream – scientists can’t

Recently we added to the ACDC collection an article in Yale Climate Connections reporting how visual artists are advancing dialog on climate. Author Lisa Palmer reported how artists have begun to:

  1. Address the nuances of science, making the story both scientifically rigorous and yet accessible
  2. Make climate change issues tangible to a public that tends to think the issue is remote from them in time and space

Palmer cited examples and observed that artists and scientists, working together, may provide new and innovative outlets for authoritative climate science and policy education.

You can read the article here .

Thirteen new agricultural communications research papers

We are adding these conference papers to the ACDC collection from the Agricultural Communications Section of the recent Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference in Mobile, Alabama. Topics range from local food messaging and Twitter discourse about food waste to branding in Extension and consumer response to animal slaughter videos.

You can read them here .

Wow — 175 years of agricultural publishing

A new digital exhibit on the ACDC website features the recent 175 th anniversary of Prairie Farmer , America’s oldest farm magazine. It has served Illinois readers continuously since early 1841. Caeli Cleary, agricultural communications senior and ACDC student assistant, developed the 13-slide exhibit. It highlights a few of the dramatic changes in agriculture and rural life which Prairie Farmer has covered (and influenced) across those years. We hope you may enjoy viewing it, as part of our digital exhibit series.

You can view it here .

Rural journalism can still be mighty risky

For years, ACDC has tracked freedom of information issues related to rural areas and the lives of residents. Covering agriculture can be mighty risky, even life threatening. News from the independent non-governmental organization, Reporters Without Borders, offers recent examples:

  • In southern Chad, a community radio station was closed by local authorities for covering disputes between herders and cultivators regarding land use. The station manager was detained.
  • Journalist Mae Azongo in Liberia received threats and was forced into hiding for reporting about female genital mutilation in rural areas, the plight of small farmers, and local development issues.
  • Three journalists were among eight persons lynched during a health team visit to a remote part of Guinea to inform people about dangers of the Ebola virus.
  • An indigenous Mayan community radio station was closed by local authorities. Community representatives and journalists were threatened and roughed up for defending ancestral land.

You can learn more about these incidents and read other examples here .

What the public and local decision makers want to know about water use

Recent survey research in Florida measured general public interest in 12 water subject areas. Priorities ranged from fertilizer and pesticide management (most interest – 39%) to landscape buffers (16%). City and county officials ranked their areas of interest from community actions concerning water issues (23%) to forest management (3%).

Authors of this article in the Journal of Agricultural Education found that decision makers had a significantly less positive attitude towards agricultural water use than did the general public.

You can read the 2016 article here .

Peace, conflict and other themes in communicating about development

Agriculture, health, women and children, environment, and population serve as major themes in reference to development throughout the world. A 2016 analysis of development themes in Mindanao expanded that list considerably. Researcher Nef Luczon analyzed development themes of independent films and videos (2010-2014) produced in that region of the Philippines.

Findings identified prominent themes anchored on:

  • Peace and conflict situations
  • Human rights
  • Indigenous peoples and their ancestral domains

You can read the abstract of the Media Watch journal article here . Check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Viewing farmland prices – echoes from a century ago

In a manuscript we added recently to the ACDC collection long-time agricultural editor Donald Murphy reported this view expressed by a farm reader of Wallaces Farmer (serving Iowa) in about 1907. More than a century later, it carries a familiar ring.

The reader recalled that raw, unimproved land in his section of northwestern Iowa in 1875 was selling for $4.50 per acre.  By 1880 it had risen to $7.00.  Then there was the prospect of a railroad and in 1882 the price of raw land jumped to $12.50. And by 1883 to $25 an acre.  He said he believed this advance is all more or less by speculation and that present prices of farm produce did not warrant the present prices of these lands.

Communicator activities approaching

April 2-8, 2017
2017 World Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Gauteng and the West Cape, South Africa.


April 22-29, 2017
33rd Annual Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.

April 26-28, 2017
“Go big” 2017 Agri-Marketing Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Dallas, Texas USA.

May 25-29, 2017
“Interventions: Communication Research and Practice.” Annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in San Diego, California.

June 20-22, 2017
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Sacramento, California USA.

I’d better repeat that

We close this issue of ACDC News with a reminder from novelist and philosopher André Gide who, decades ago, opened a lecture by noting:

“All of this has been said before, but since nobody listened, it must be said again.”

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 and valuable 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