ACDC News – Issue 00-06

Internet marketing for farmers.

That is the title of an informative resource offered by the King County staff of Washington State University Cooperative Extension. It is directed toward use in small-scale farming operations. Main sections include:

  • advantages and challenges of internet marketing
  • sources of online help regarding email and internet services; computers, equipment and software; regulations; and marketing/business management

Reference: Search on title (Internet marketing for farmers) for the full citation. The document is posted online at:

The ARC website is available again.

You can view the Agricultural Relations Council site at a new home: The “Useful Links” page of the ACDC web site provides direct contact with it.

You will also find two new links

On the “Useful Links” page. They include the Agricultural Publishers Association and a teaching/practice resource, Agricultural Communications Case Studies.

More perspectives in the biotech “dialogue:”

“Eat margarine and go blind. It’s hard to believe that even lawyers and senators peddled such drivel (decades ago). But, then again, we do have some heavyweights in our current political arena who are raising some equally-tenuous fears about genetically-modified foods.” (Reference: “Debate over margarine still spreads a nasty echo”)

“The architects of heaven always end up designing a hell.” (Reference: “Beware the appliance of science.”)

“In both the short- and longer-term, education of the public and of opinion leaders is…. essential, if we are to avoid making public policy in a way that resembles uncannily the 17thCentury Salem witch trials.” (Reference: “Biotech offers [baby] food for thought.”)

Seven “attitudinal sins” of researchers and research administrators.

A science interpretive writer, Walter von Wartburg, recently described seven “attitudinal sins, the things researchers and research administrators should not do” in dealing with public issues.

  1. “Wait and see.” If you receive criticism, you do not react because you think science is self-explanatory, and people will find out one day how marvelous this all is.
  2. If you receive criticism and the criticism is mounting, you adopt a belittling attitude, as if the problem does not exist. (He notes: This can result in reduced credibility of future work).
  3. “Everything is under control.” (He notes: Is the mad cow disease under control? It is well to remember that not everything is under control.)
  4. “We know best because we developed the technology.” (He notes: The difference between knowing best and knowing better is sometimes quite important).
  5. “You have to believe.” (He notes: Nobody has the absolute truth or the absolute trust. Trust is a matter of experience and trust has to be earned.)
  6. “Freedom works best” because a system of total freedom has always produced the best possible economic output. (He notes: This is probably not true, because people want to have at least some level of control).
  7. “Discredit the critics.” (He notes: This one is self-explanatory.)

Wartburg spoke, along with four other writers, during a panel discussion, “Communicating about biotechnology and addressing public concerns,” last October at an international conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, “Agricultural biotechnology and the poor,” was convened by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Reference: Search by author (Persley) or title (Communicating about…) to see the full citation. The proceedings are at:

Contributing to agricultural communications research – after retirement.

The recent passing of John C. Baker reminds us of a special way in which dedicated professionals can contribute to what is known about agriculture-related communicating.

After John retired in 1970 he researched and wrote a 342-page book, Farm Broadcasting: The First Sixty Years (Iowa State University Press, Ames. 1981). He had been among the early U.S. farm broadcasters, starting as an extension broadcaster at Purdue University in 1930. Through his post-retirement effort, he contributed the first book dealing with radio and television programs for farmers, nationwide.

Some recent inquiries.

Here are some kinds of questions to which Center staff members have responded recently:

  • Readership of agriculture college news releases that local newspapers publish.
  • Graduate school opportunities for new agricultural journalism graduates.
  • Employment opportunities and education requirements for careers that combine agriculture with computers and the Internet.
  • Sample proposals or frameworks for establishing agricultural documentation centers.
  • Information related to botanical studies on Triticum genus. (Unfortunately, we weren’t too helpful on this request.)
  • Impact of and need for agriculture-related education, especially in urban areas.
  • Comparisons of scientific editing and publishing in developing and developed countries.
  • Kinds and characteristics of consumer education campaigns that have worked.

Let us know if we can help you gather information for communications projects that are on your agenda.

One way to put it.

Here’s how an unfortunate motorist described a traffic accident: “Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I didn’t have.”

Professional meetings approaching.

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

May 6-8, 2000
East Region Meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.

May 10-11, 2000
“Communicating science: taking the risk.” A superworkshop on risk communication for scientists, communicators and administrators. Sponsored by Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) and Extension Service (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

May 18-20, 2000
“T2K.” Texas 2000, the American Horse Publications annual meeting and seminar in Irving, Texas. The event will also feature a 30th anniversary celebration.

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

June 1-4, 2000
West Region meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Information: Don Wick at

June 24-27, 2000
Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) Institute in Whitefish, Montana.

July 23-26, 2000
U.S. Agricultural Communicators Congress (USACC) in Washington, D.C. Involves professionals from Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB), Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

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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