ACDC News – Issue 17-08

Highlighting “the yearly death of ag data”

Writing in Precision Ag, Nathan Faleide observed recently, “When you look at all the data that has been somewhat carelessly created by the various machines and controllers out there, it made me think that most of it is wasted and never used for anything.” He called for:

  • Greater effort in using the data
  • Better education about what can be done with data and what the real benefit is

He noted the challenge of data privacy.

You can read his May 2 commentary here.

How Midwest corn farmers are adapting (or not) to climate change

Results of a survey among nearly 5,000 corn farmers across 21 Midwestern watersheds suggest that they are relying primarily on new technologies, crop insurance, and in-field conservation practices to manage their risks from weather and climate. These findings were reported in a 2017 article in Climate Risk Management.

Authors found the results consistent with general arguments that the U.S. crop insurance program may effectively subsidize inaction on the part of farmers.

“U.S. farmers are not implementing longer-term modifications to farming that may be required depending on the severity of future climate change impacts.”

You can read the article here.

Digital dividends in global development?

“World Development Report 2016” from the World Bank Group addresses that topic in a 369-page research document we have added to the ACDC collection.  The analysis tracks rapid spread of digital technologies, globally, and examines the benefits from them.

“Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough.”

The report identifies challenges that countries face in strengthening what it calls the “analog foundation” of the digital revolution.

You can review the report here.

“In Australia it’s not scarcity, it’s a drought!”

Thanks to Australian rural communicator Neil Inall for his response to our recent ACDC News item describing the recent book, The Communication Scarcity in Agriculture.”  Dr. Inall is known throughout Australia as a stimulating rural broadcaster (e.g., “Countrywide” on ABC Television) and respected consultant, commentator, and organization leader.

You may recall that the book authors referred to “communication scarcity” in terms of what information gets shared (or doesn’t get shared) among key stakeholders in food and agriculture — consumers, policymakers, researchers, agribusiness, farmers, and others. That complex task challenges every community, region, and nation. It calls for skilled, wise communicators.

Wineries seeking “green” marketing benefits through new communications tools

Results of recent research in Italy suggest that orientation to sustainability is “taking a central and crucial role in the operational and strategic choices of wineries.” Marketing innovations and communications tools are playing a key role. Researchers surveyed 204 wineries in the Apulia region of southern Italy. They found positive correlation between a “green” orientation of the wineries and their use of innovative marketing tools such as QR codes, websites, newsletters, wine clubs, and training courses.

Full text of this article, “Understanding the relationship between green approach and marketing innovation tools in the wine sector,” is available here. 

Livestock disease – a sensitive subject for producers

Evidence of sensitivity was apparent in results of recent research involving a disease control program in the United Kingdom. A 2016 article in PLoS ONE reported on farmer attitudes and activities associated with two Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) control schemes.

Findings suggested that group helping and information sharing among participating farmers was low in both control schemes.  However, peer to peer monitoring in the form of gossip regarding animal disease was high.”   BVD status remained a sensitive subject.

You can read the journal article, “Farmer attitudes and livestock disease,” here.

Communicator activities approaching

September 28-30, 2017
Joint conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) and Association des communicateurs et rédacteurs de l’agroalimentaire (ACRA) in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Information: and

September 29, 2017
Deadline for submitting research papers to be presented at the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Jacksonville, Florida, February 4-5, 2018. Information: Abigail Borron at

October 4-8, 2017
“Rivers of change.” Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA.

October 20, 2017
Deadline for submitting professional development proposals and posters to be presented at the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Jacksonville, Florida, February 4-5, 2018.
Information about professional development proposals: Lauri Baker at
Information about posters: Quisto Settle at

October 26-30, 2017
World Conference of Science Journalists, San Francisco, California USA.

November 8-10, 2017
“Focus influence.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Impatient with lagging innovation?

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought from William James:

“Habit is the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservation agent. … There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”

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