ACDC News – Issue 21-05

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“A bitter toast at Press Freedom Day”

We are adding to the ACDC Collection a statement of concern from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists during International Press Freedom Day on May 3. It comes from the IFAJ Press Freedom Committee.

“…there is a risk that the toast we raise this year is a bitter one, and there are several reasons to believe that the situation is not better for agricultural journalists than for journalists in other sectors.” Committee members noted:
• The global situation for democracy has been declining during the past 15 years, according to the 2021 “Freedom in the World” report from Freedom House.
• Public distrust of journalists nowadays does not make our jobs easier.
• Can we report independently about food supply?
• “…journalists in free countries protected by national and international rules have to support and encourage colleagues working under pressure…in countries without freedom to express themselves independently.”


You can read the full statement here.

The press needs educational extension as much as educational extension needs the press

A.E. Winship offered that perspective in 1916 at a meeting of the National Education Association. Lectures, bulletins, circulars, letters of appeal have their place, he acknowledged, “but they in no wise take the place in educational extension work that is done by a subscribed-for, paid-for publication.” An example reported how an audience member at an Illinois convention shared a U.S. Department of Agriculture representative’s talk with a New York paper. It resulted in more than 12,000 letters asking for about 100,000 various USDA bulletins.


You can read this brief Journal of Education article here.

Moving beyond risk communication in the food complex

More innovative and creative communication strategies are needed to engage with consumers, according to researchers in a recent issue of Science of Food. Conventional risk communication will not succeed on its own, said researchers Patrick Wall and Junshi Chen. They urged moving to a broader platform of food information communication and consumer engagement.

“The competencies of social scientists are needed to assist in gaining insights into consumer perceptions of risk, and in understanding consumer behaviour and the determinants of trust.”


You can read the article here.

Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities

Agricultural educator Anna Warner offered that advice in a 2019 Agricultural Education article we have added to the ACDC collection. The approach builds on embracing mistakes and involves cultivating scientific literacy through seven strategies:
• Foundational literacy using math, reading and visual literacy
• Knowledge of scientific terms, concepts and facts about a topic
• Understanding how scientists do science
• Identifying and judging appropriate scientific expertise
• Knowing how scientific practices support scientific claims
• Cultural understanding of science; impact of science in society
• Dispositions and habits of mind about science


You can gain access to the article here which begins on page Eighteen. Or confer with us at

Awareness of climate change and risks among smallholder farmers in areas of rain-fed agriculture

Research among smallholder farmers in Zambia revealed that 77% were aware of climate change and the risks it poses to agriculture, according to a 2020 article in Agronomy.
• However, awareness levels varied considerably, by district (from 54% to 91%)
• Need exists for more vigorous efforts to promote awareness and provide information about ways in which producers can adapt in their settings
• Findings identified radio and agricultural extension as especially positive and meaningful sources of climate information for them


You can read “Are they aware, and why?” by open access.

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with contact information you can use for details.

May 20-22, 2021
“Back in the Saddle” American Horse Publications Equine Media Conference for members, in Irving, Texas. AHP is celebrating 50 years.

June 6-9, 2021
“Connect. Create. Achieve” 2021 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Information at:

July 20-22, 2021
“Breaking New Ground.” 2021 Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.


June 21-23, 2021
“Elevating Voices.” Virtual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). Information:

A bumper crop of food writing honors

We close this issue of ACDC News with a third winner in the 2020 Bullwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. As mentioned earlier, Bullwer-Lytton is a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels. The English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored it since 1982. The winning entry in the Purple Prose category caught our attention because it featured communicating about food. Congratulations to author Candy Mosely of Hydro, Oklahoma:

“The biker gang roared into the parking lot of the bar and grill like a troop of howler monkeys trying to lure mates, the gravel beneath the tires of their well-oiled bikes crunching like the dill pickle spears the place served alongside their famous tuna salad, BLT, and Reuben sandwiches.”

Best regards and wishes

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 valued international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to