ACDC News – Issue 20-05

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How new agri-marketers should talk to farmers

David Vincent of Rooster Strategic Solutions recently offered seven tips for new college graduates as they join the ranks of agricultural advertising agencies and agribusinesses to begin working with farmers and ranchers.

  • Farmers are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.
  • Farming is hard, hard, hard work.
  • Farmers are alike, but not homogeneous.
  • Do your homework.
  • Respect their time.
  • Common courtesy goes a long way.
  • Share the farmer’s enthusiasm!

You can read the article, “Rooster Blog: How New Agri-Marketers Should Talk to Farmers”, via AgriMarketing Weekly.

“Being left behind amidst Africa’s rising imagery”

That title of a 2017 journal article refers to what author Eric Otenyo described as “the continued marginalization of the Maasai people amidst the myth of a rising Africa.”

“In sum, the Africa rising myth and penetration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural areas masks the dispossession of Maasai means of livelihood, and therefore worsening the groups’ conditions of living.”

You can read this article, “Being Left Behind Amidst Africa;s Rising Imagery”, in a Volume 21 issue of Australasian Journal of Information Systems.

Early (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables

Thanks to researcher Michelle R. Nelson for alerting us to a sweeping new research report published in the Advertising and Society Quarterly.  She and co-authors Susmita Das, and Regina Jihea Ahn analyzed (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables during the early 20th Century. Their findings revealed that “in an era of scientific discovery and therapeutic ethos, fruits and vegetables were advertised as medical tonics.” The “prescriptions” included daily doses to ward off or cure real or imagined medical ailments (flu, listlessness, acidosis).

Authors concluded that marketers of national food brands and grower organizations contributed to public knowledge – and confusion – about nutrition and foods in early medicalization of fruits and vegetables.  They suggested: “What is most needed now is perhaps a broader social marketing and transdisciplinary approach that uses both communication and advertising to engage in nutrition education…”

You can read “A prescription for health”, in the journal Advertising & Society Quarterly.

Useful resource for communicators in helping farm families remain safe

We recently added to the ACDC collection a report describing a uniquely valuable source of agricultural injury and fatality reports. The resource,, is maintained by the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield, Wisconsin.  It is identified as the largest public database of such reports.

This interactive web-based system tracks agriculture-related injuries and fatalities reported in news media and other sources. Launched in 2015, it is finding use and value for ag safety stakeholders from around the world. For example:

  • News reporters gather data and case reports of incidents in their regions.
  • Producers gain examples and talking points for safety meetings with employees.
  • Extension educators, agriculture teachers, insurance companies, and other organizations use it in interactions with students, producers, and others in farming communities.
  • Local fire departments and FFA chapters use it in safety messages and training.

You can read the report at the Marshfield Clinic’s site.

Communicating human values in the world of animal welfare be cautious about channels to use

A German Animal Welfare Initiative offers instructive insights about communicating in the realm of distinct human values.  We recently added to the ACDC collection a research report about a sector-wide initiative in Germany to improve animal welfare standards.  Researchers addressed three principal value components: (1) Self-enhancement, achievement, power; (2) Self-transcendence, openness to change, self-direction, universalism; and (3) Conservation, security, tradition.

Face-to-face and online surveys among German citizens revealed that “for meat products…the consideration of specific information needs of targeted audience is essential.” In this case, the sector-wide initiative was communicated via websites of the organization and participating companies. However, survey respondents rarely mentioned online sources. “…the majority of consumers referred to brochures, flyers and interpersonal sources.”

You can read the research article, “How different consumer groups with distinct basic human values gather, seek and process information on meat topics”, at the journal International Journal on Food System Dynamics.

How environmental reporters pioneered journalism for a “post-truth” era

Researcher Declan Fahy of Dublin City University, Ireland, used that title for a 2018 commentary we have added from Environmental Communication.  “Since the specialism was formed in the 1960s, environmental journalists have reported on politically partisan issues where facts are contested, expertise is challenged, and uncertainty is heightened.”

“Over decades, environmental reporters resolved these conceptual problems. In the process, they reconfigured the definition of objectivity — in three ways.”

  1. Viewed as the application of “trained judgment”
  2. Viewed as the implementation of a transparent method
  3. Viewed as the pluralistic search for dialogue-based consensus

Environmental reporters, “by engaging deeply with the nature and impact of knowledge, have reconfigured the concept of objectivity, providing a conceptual model and guide to action for their peers. They are pioneers for contemporary ‘post-truth’ journalism.”

You can read the abstract for the article, “Objectivity as Trained Judgment: How Environmental Reporters Pioneered Journalism for a Post-truth Era”, or confer with us at

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

May 21-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.


June 23-25, 2020 (cancelled on-site; alternative virtual events being planned)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.


June 24-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.


June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.


July 25-29, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.


 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.


September 14-16, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from June 1-3)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.


September 24-26, 2020 (Rescheduled to September 23-25, 2021)
“Risky business” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Hosted by the Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association.



A moral compass for small-town living

We close this issue of ACDC News with an enduring insight from Will Rogers:

“So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.”

Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

ACDC is a resource for you, so please 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