ACDC News – Issue 00-04

Agricultural communications programs expanding – and scouting for strength.

Enrollments have grown during the past five years in eight of the nine agricultural communications programs offered by universities in the 13-state southern U.S. region. Professors Randy Weckman and Deborah Witham, University of Kentucky, and Ricky Telg, University of Florida reported this finding and others last month.

At the same time, responses from faculty members who work with those programs identified needs for increased support (funding, space, personnel), accreditation and greater understanding about what ag communications is as a field. Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that a national agricultural communications accreditation process would benefit their programs.

The paper can be viewed online at:

Thanks to Ted Hutchcroft for adding generously to his ACDC contributions.

His three additions to the Center last month include one rare and privately printed book, a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation. They include:

  • William E. Ogilvie, Pioneer agricultural journalists: brief biographical sketches of some of the early editors in the field of agricultural journalism. Arthur G. Leonard: Chicago. 1927.
  • Theodore Hutchcroft, The agricultural television package service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – after five years. Master’s thesis, American University, Washington, D.C. 1959.
  • Theodore Hutchcroft, The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology: an innovation in public affairs education. Doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University, Ames. 1978.

These probably are not available to you locally, so check with us if you would like to discuss access.

Tips on promoting one’s communications business.

“Practical and (almost) easy self-promotion and marketing” is the title of a presentation made by Sharlet R. Teigen at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. She is principal of S. R. Brown Marketing Communications, Camp Crook, South Dakota. Her presentation covered a wide range of ideas, from image planning to publicity methods.

Details: Use title search (above) for full citation. Contact us if you would like a copy.

Getting breaking news to media: no longer “one size fits all.”

In the current issue of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) newsletter, a director of corporate relations for a major rural cooperative emphasizes how news services are no longer the size of a business envelope. Lani Jordan of Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives outlines the pros and cons of these options: U.S. mail, fax, e-mail, web sites and distribution services. She reports: “…we’ve found that by using a combination of tools, we’re able to get our releases to the right place at the right time and get the media coverage we want.”

Details: Use author search (Jordan) or title search (Weighing the options for news release distribution) for full citation. Inquire if interested in getting access to the article.

New planning resource for crisis communication.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has an informative new crisis response and communication planning manual and workbook. S.E. Grant and D. Powell, University of Guelph, prepared these resources for the Ministry (June 1999, revised January 2000).

The manual (18 pages) describes stages of crisis management, principles of planning and elements of a crisis communication/response plan. It also outlines steps and techniques for crisis communication, including guidelines for testing the plan. The workbook (30 pages) covers aspects such as the crisis audit, identification and location of resources, crisis response team membership and responsibilities, contact lists, scenario modules, crisis documentation and crisis recovery.

Details: Use author search (Grant or Powell) or title search (Crisis response and communication planning manual and workbook) for full citation. Contact the Ministry ( or us about access to the documents.

Signs of confusion among consumers about GMO.

Sixty percent of consumers in a recent Canadian survey “believed that a crop sprayed with chemicals or hormonal agents constituted genetically engineered foods.” The same survey, conducted in Quebec and Ontario, also “found that consumers believed irradiated food was also genetically modified.”

Details: Use author search (Lyons) or title search (Labels could confuse GMO issue) for full citation. Contact us about access to the document.

Big gaps exist between U.S. consumers and farmers 

In their opinions about the impact of agriculture on the environment. Evidence appeared in 1999 Gap Research conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide Inc. on behalf of the Philip Morris family of companies and The American Farm Bureau Federation. Results indicated that consumers are more than twice as likely as farmers to think that agricultural chemicals in the water supply present a major problem. For example, 68 percent of consumers in the survey viewed pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers entering ground water as a major problem, compared with 29 percent of farmers surveyed.

Details: Use author search (Roper Starch) or title search (1999 gap research: consumer and farmer opinions about food and agriculture) for the full citation. Contact us about access to the document.

Professional meetings approaching.

Here are the approaching meetings of two U.S. professional agricultural communicator organizations:

April 12-14, 2000
“All that jazz.” National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) conference and trade show. Site: Kansas City, Missouri.

May 21-24, 2000
“Fast chips and hot salsa.” National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in College Station, Texas.

Best regards and good searching.

Please let us know if we can help you find information and/or if you can suggest documents that we might add to this collection.

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