ACDC News – Issue 00-08

Missing the big picture in farming?

Farm broadcaster Dan Wilkinson recently asked fellow National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) members: “Have we gotten so far into the forest of farm broadcasting that we forgot what the trees look like? Have we focused so tightly on the day-to-day grind that we lost sight of what is happening to these men and women who are pouring their lives out to feed us all?” He challenged them to report more fully to the non-farm public about the health of the family farm.
(Reference: NAFB Chats, Vol. 62, No. 2 [March 2000], p. 4.)

Reactions to mandatory price reporting.

Reactions appear in documents that we have added recently concerning efforts by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to gather and release more information about livestock prices. A sample:

“Commentators on AMS’s MPR rule so far are calling it overwhelming, confusing, discouraging and monstrous.”(Reference: Use a title search, “Mandatory price reporting: the matrix begins,” for the full citation.)

Adding to a strong historical collection.

During recent weeks we have entered into the ACDC database more than 100 books and other documents that feature the historical aspects of agricultural journalism and communications. These materials trace the subject back to the early 1800s. They include:

  • Biographies of pioneering agricultural journalists such as Solon Robinson, Wilmer Atkinson, W. D. Hoard, John S. Wright, Clarence Poe, Norman J. Colman, Henry Wallace and others. (Sample subject terms to use in searching: journalist’s last name, “journalists,” “editors,” “communicators”)
  • Studies that trace the history, development and influence of dozens of farm magazines, breed journals, broadcast stations and networks. (Sample subject terms to use in searching: “farm journals;” “radio stations;” “rural broadcasts” AND “history;” “farm journals” AND “history”)

All documents that you identify are available here in the University of Illinois library system. We will help you gain access to them if you can’t locate them locally.

Garden writers invite more information from universities.

Only 50 percent of the U.S. garden writers responding to a 1997 survey reported that they received regular communications from land grant universities. Nearly 90 percent expressed a desire for greater communication with university personnel. Melvin Garber, University of Georgia, carried out the survey among members of the Garden Writers Association of America. He concludes, “.there is much to be gained from greater interaction of the two groups.”

Reference: Use title search (“Analysis of the garden writer profession”) for full citation. Report can be seen online at

More perspectives in the GMO “dialogue.”

“If opposing opinions and concerns in such a debate are not respected, it makes it difficult to reach compromises, let alone convince opponents why some biotechnology advances might be beneficial.” (Reference: Use a title search, “Respect for the opposition,” for the full citation.)

“I’m inclined not to trust anybody who has their finger in the pie and tells me 1) they don’t have their finger in the pie, and 2) if they did happen to have their finger in the pie it would be for my own good, and 3) anyway, it’s not a pie. Honest. Trust them.” (Reference: Use a title search, “I need you to trust me on this one – really,” for the full citation.)

“The complex issues regarding genetically modified foods deserve a thorough and thoughtful public dialogue. Instead, what we have is a shrill debate. As the two sides become increasingly estranged from each other, the loser is the American consumer.”

(Reference: Use a title search, “End the biotech food fight,” for the full citation.)

Recent additions about credibility of information sources.

Following are titles of several recent ACDC additions that relate to this subject:

  • “Scientists deserve public attention, but exalt them at your peril”
  • “Debate over margarine still spreads a nasty echo”
  • “Name, shame & blame in reporting”
  • “Saving the planet with pestilent statistics”
  • “The professor who can read your mind”
  • “The sources Iowans trust: the impact of involvement on credibility perceptions and channels used for environmental issues”

Reference: Use a title search to get full citations for these documents. If you want to see other ACDC documents about source credibility, conduct a subject search on the term, “credibility (sources).”

Communicate more easily. Get a dog.

That’s the connection revealed by two English researchers whose study suggests that “dogs can act as powerful social catalysts, making it easier for people to make social contact with each other.” Findings reported in the February 2000 issue of the British Journal of Psychology showed that being in the company of a dog increased all social interactions, no matter what the appearance of the dog or the handler. “This may help us understand why pet owners are frequently reported to be healthier than non-owners,” the authors observed.

Professional meetings approaching.

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

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.

June 28-July 2, 2000
South Region Meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters at Sandestin Resort, Destin, Florida.
Information: Lee McCoy at 334/741-9672.

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).

How to gain access to documents that interest you.

Here’s our two-step advice when you search the ACDC collection online and identify documents that sound interesting.

Step 1. Using information in the citation, determine whether you can locate the document locally.

Step 2. If the documents aren’t available to you locally, get in touch with us by e-note at Tell us the document numbers. We will check the documents (a) to identify any possible copyright restrictions and (b) to determine the number of pages involved. Then we will respond to you with suggested possibilities for helping you gain access. Sometimes we may help you get in touch with original document sources. Sometimes you may want us to make and send photocopies to you on a cost-recovery basis.

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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