ACDC News – Issue 00-10

A new agricultural communications textbook

Can help fill a major gap in classes, seminars and other discussions about this broadening, dynamic field of academic and professional interest. The book is:

Kristina Boone, Terry Meisenbach and Mark Tucker, Agricultural communications: changes and challenges. Iowa State University Press, Ames. 2000. 134 pp.

Existing classroom resources in the U.S. often deal with the “micro” dimensions of agriculture-related journalism and communications. Such dimensions involve writing, broadcasting, planning communications programs and applying other skills for effective communicating. In their new book, the authors encourage students and other readers to examine some broader aspects of agriculture-related communications. It addresses:

  • the role of agricultural information in society
  • the emergence and growth of communications channels during the past two centuries
  • new information technologies and their potentials
  • changes in agriculture and the information-related influences they exert
  • kinds of literature and research available – and needed – to serve agricultural communicators
  • relationships among agricultural journalism, agricultural communications, agricultural education and other related fields of interest
  • Ten “nexus points” intended to stir thought and discussion about the roles and responsibilities of agricultural communicators in changing times.

Reference: Information about the book is available online at

U.S. consumers bought nine million extra gallons of milk in two days

As the result of an unusual promotion described in the February 2000 issue of American Demographicsmagazine. This 10 percent jump is huge in an industry that often is pleased with any increase in milk consumption.

The key? “A modest little magazine entitled The Best of Nickelodeon that appeared in stores across the country last October. Some 4.5 million copies of the custom magazine, packed with the usual assortment of games, puzzles, and articles – and nothing but ads for milk – also came wrapped with a belly band that read ‘Buy Two Gallons of Milk, Get This Magazine Free.’ Just do the math.” The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board sponsored this experiment with custom publishing, which the author describes as one of the fastest-growing segments of the magazine industry.

Reference: Use title search (“Milk, the Magazine”) for the full citation.

Agricultural advertising on the Internet –a good investment or not? 

Two advertising executives drew a standing-room-only crowd when they discussed this question at a seminar during the recent National Agri-Marketing Association meeting. And, in turn, they had more questions than answers in their response to this question.

Their review of Internet “reach,” cost per thousand, role of “banner” ads and other factors led them to suggest: “In our view, there are certainly situations where the Internet can play a role in the media plan, but it isn’t nor should it be automatic. It has to fit within your overall objectives.”

Reference: Use author search (Hogan) or title search (“Agricultural advertising on the Internet”) for the full citation. Check with the Center about access to the paper.

You will find these new links on the “Useful Links” page of the ACDC web site:

  • Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). Story database, beat pages and other features involve some resources related to food and agriculture.
  • JournalismNet. Story beats include topics related to agriculture, internationally.

Media selection in the computer age. Duck soup?

Not really. Media consultant Erwin Ephron estimates that 20 years ago buyers of national television advertising needed to select from about 1,024 schedule combinations. By 1998 they faced more than 1.125 quadrillion schedule combinations from which to choose for a media plan.

“Americans have positive image of the environmental movement.” 

That’s the title of a report from The Gallup Organization summarizing Gallup’s new Earth Day 2000 poll. “When presented with a list of eight important social movements active in recent decades and asked to rate them in terms of their impact on our nation’s policies, three-fourths of Americans (76%) rate the environmental movement as having had either ‘a great deal’ or ‘a moderate amount’ of success. This places it behind the civil rights and women’s rights movements, in a virtual tie with the abortion rights and gun-control movements.”

Reference: Results of the poll are available at:

Consumers unsure about the health advantage of organic foods.

A recent nationwide survey by the American Dietetic Association suggests that American consumers hold divided opinions about this matter. About one-half (52%) of the respondents said that organically grown fruits and vegetables, and naturally produced beef and pork, are healthier than “regular” products. By comparison, 90% said they believe that whole-grain breads and cereals are healthier than “regular” products.

Reference: Use title search (“Americans rate whole-grain, low-fat foods as healthiest”) for the full citation. News release posted on:

The great digital divide.

“Rural areas are currently lagging far behind urban areas in broadband availability,” according to a new report, Advanced telecommunications in Rural America: the challenge of bringing broadband service to all Americans. The U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture prepared it in response to requests from federal legislators and administrators. According to one study, “while less than five percent of towns of 10,000 or less have cable modem service, more than 65 percent of all cities with populations over 250,000 have such service.”

Reference: Use title search (above) for the full citation. The report is posted online at

Staying abreast of today – and the past.

In the Documentation Center we work hard to identify and add current literature about the communications aspects of agriculture, food and related topics. Current literature holds high priority. We also place high priority on adding relevant documents from the past. During recent weeks, for example, we have added two dozen articles, reports and books published between 1922 and 1977. Will they help guide your communications decisions today? Maybe, or maybe not. In any case, we view them as nuggets in a gold field. All contain valuable perspective and context related to this field of interest.

Professional meetings approaching.

Following are the approaching meetings of some. professional agricultural communicator organizations:

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).

“It’s an information jungle out there.”

This heading on a poster caught our eye recently in the office of a University of Illinois library staff member. Indeed, it often seems that way. Those of us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center stand ready to help you hack your way through the information jungles that you may face from day to day. Having trouble finding some reference for which you are looking? Need a customized information search? Let us know.

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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