ACDC News – Issue 19-10

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View a nationally-honored documentary about devastating drought in Australia

What’s it like for rural residents and communities to experience devastating drought?

Early this year Michael Brissenden and the “Four Corners” team of ABC-TV were honored for offering a peek into that experience. Their documentary, “Proud Country,” aired during October 2018. At that time the men and women of Quirindi (in rural New South Wales) were coping with the worst drought in six decades.

Early this year the team members were honored with the Rabobank/Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists Star Prize for Excellence in Rural Broadcasting. They were commended for this “powerful story that brought into stark reality, not just the profound challenges facing people in sections of rural Australia in times of drought, but also the incredible resilience and community spirit from which they draw strength to face these issues.”

You can watch the program here.

To be clear about food date labeling

We recently added to the ACDC collection a brief report about steps taken by food marketers to help consumers interpret “use by” date labeling. During 2017 the Food Marketing Institute endorsed a recommendation to adopt a standard use of two Product Code Date Label phrases on packaging:

  • “BEST If Used By” – indicates that after a specified date the product may not taste or perform as expected, but is safe to use or consume
  • “USE By” – for perishable products which may be subject to a material degradation of critical performance (e.g., nutritional or SPF declaration) or potential food safety concern

You can read the one-page policy statement here.

Preserving research of the 1980’s and 1990’s about agriculture-related communicating

Much of what we do in ACDC extends beyond news of the day. Our recent processing of records from the Communications Committee of agricultural experiment stations in the North Central Region of the U. S. offers a good example. The NCR-90 Collection in ACDC preserves 118 reports of committee activities from 1981 to 1995. They are often-unpublished nuggets of insight about agricultural communications research and practice during the period.  Thanks to Professor Eric Abbott, Iowa State University, for sharing his files, as part of this valued collection.

Here are a few examples of hard-to-find research information from that period:

  • Individual responses to inconsistent scientific agricultural information (1988)
  • Predictors of college writing performance  (1988)
  • Communication and trust of outsiders (1986)
  • The extension agent as communicator (1985)
  • Farm computers study (1981)
  • Ethical concerns of agricultural journalists (1986)

You can identify them by clicking here.

Communications aspects of the degrowth movement

We are beginning to gather information about communications aspects of the global degrowth movement. Having emerged during the past decade, it represents a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It proposes a framework to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.

For example, the July 2019 issue of Ecological Economics featured an article about linkages between the degrowth movement and a grassroots New Rural Reconstruction Movement in China. You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF for purchase from the publisher, or confer with us at You can learn more about the degrowth movement at

Highlighting how ACDC can help communicate better these days

Check out our new flyer/poster highlighting the latest ACDC services. It describes and extends information services and individual help to anyone interested in communicating better about:

  • conservation and environmental issues
  • sustainable farming, food, and communities
  • renewable energy and resources

Here is a pdf copy for your information.  As a flyer it serves as a handout or insert. Unfold it, flip it, and the back side serves as a poster. Please contact us at if you would like to receive print copies for your use, or if you have special information interests we can help serve.

Communicator events approaching

November 11-13, 2019
Professional development conference of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association at Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.

November 13-15, 2019
“75 years strong.” Anniversary convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA

December 6-7, 2019
“Pluralistic extension for enhancing farmers’ income through reaching the unreached.” National seminar organized by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth and Maharashtra Society of Extension Education at Maharashtra, INDIA Information:

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA.

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA
Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at

Outback views about ladder tops and rose beds

We close this issue of ACDC News with two pieces of Outback philosophy. Colleen Wills of Quirindi, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, expressed them during the devastating recent dry spell there.

  • “You may be at the top of the ladder today, but one day you got to come down.”
  • “You may be on a bed of roses today, but the thorns always prick.”

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 international 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