ACDC News – Issue 00-11

“Falsely optimistic.”

Many Americans are falsely optimistic about the quality of their diets, according to research reported in the January-April 2000 issue of FoodReview magazine. According to the authors, “In particular, we found that males, people between 30 and 49 years of age, Hispanics, wealthier individuals, and those with more formal schooling have a greater tendency to be falsely optimistic about the quality of their diets.”

They suggest that nutrition messages need to be redesigned to address this gap.

Reference: Use Title search (“Many Americans falsely optimistic about their diets”) for the full citation. Text of the article is available online at

An interesting way to describe e-commerce today:

“…it’s too early to tell which firms will be able to drag themselves out of the current primordial soup of web ag offerings…” This comment appeared during May in an article by Jeff Cavanaugh of AgriNews Publications. He was writing about developments in agricultural e-commerce.

Reference: Use title search (“Shake-up in ag e-commerce coming”) for the full citation.

When farmer cooperatives were trying to face their future 50 years ago

An agricultural economist offered this “ditty” while speaking at a farmers’ institute. He attributed the piece to Tom Paine:

You can’t stand still on freedom’s track.
If you don’t go forward, you go back.
You can’t giddap by saying whoa
And sitting on your status quo.

Reference: Use title search (“Development of cooperatives”) for the full citation.

Those who are pioneering in the use of the Internet 

And other new technologies for distance education might find useful insights and reminders in a journal article published 33 years ago. The article by John Ohliger is entitled “What happened to the Canadian Farm Radio Forum?”

This Forum gained worldwide acclaim for using a young electronic technology – radio – to deliver education to adults within the context of local discussion groups. The article describes three generalizations about the demise of the Forum in 1965, after about 25 years on the air. None of those generalizations centered on limitations of the delivery technology. Instead, the analysis pointed toward these kinds of determining factors: shifting priorities of the sponsoring organizations, inadequate funding for field operations, and principles of discussion group maintenance.

Reference: Use title or author search (above) for the full citation. Contact the Center if you are interested in the article, but don’t have local access to it.

Origins of agricultural journalism education.

This month we had the pleasure of depositing into the ACDC collection an historic document that planted seed for today’s college curricula in agricultural journalism and agricultural communications.

John Clay, “The plough and the book.” An address upon the subject of agricultural journalism before the agricultural students of the Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, May 30, 1905. 16 pp.

Clay argued that the plough and the book “must be more closely associated. We need it in our daily press. We can improve it in our agricultural papers. It is almost absent in our magazine literature…They tell us with great truth that they can find few practical writers of ability, that there is a dearth of experts in this line.” He proposed founding a Chair of Journalism at Iowa State. His remarks – now preserved on frayed, yellowed pages – helped spark the establishment of a pioneering program in agricultural journalism education.

Reference: Use author or title search (above) for full citation. Contact the Center if you are interested in the article, but do not have local access to it.

More perspectives in the food biotech “dialogue.”

“…the biotech industry and its acolytes in government are flying blind and we are all unwitting passengers in their rickety airplane.” (For reference, use title search: “Biotech in trouble – Part II”)

“…organizations in the United States can enhance their considerations of science’s impact by a more systematic involvement of the public. Much of the development of techniques for public participation has occurred in Europe…” (For reference, use title search: “Benefits of increased public participation”)

“We should not only be asking what scientists know and do not know, but whether there are better alternatives, and whether citizens of the world have had a chance to choose among them.” (For reference, use title search: “The precautionary principle and biotechnology”)

A useful review of ways in which to involve public in decision making

Appears on the following website: The site briefly describes citizen juries, opinion polls, standing panels, community issues groups, consensus conferences, electronic democracy, youth councils and other models for public involvement.

Reference: Use title search (“Models of public involvement”) for the full citation.

Monitoring nuclear journals.

Would you believe that some agricultural communications literature appears in nuclear energy journals? Such journals aren’t a prime source of documents for ACDC. However, we find relevant documents in literature about consumer acceptance of food irradiation.

Reference: Use at title search (“Food irradiation: creating a controversy”) for the full citation.

Professional meetings approaching.

Following are some conferences, workshops and other kinds of professional improvement events for agricultural communicators:

July 23-26, 2000
“Agriculture in the 21st Century,” U.S. Agricultural Communicators Congress 2000 at the J. W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Agricultural Communicators In Education, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Agricultural Relations Council and National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

July 29 – August 1, 2000
“If you remember the Summit, you’ll definitely remember the Alamo.” Agricultural Publications Summit at Adams Mark Hotel, San Antonio, Texas. Joint meeting of American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Agricultural Publishers Association and Livestock Publications Council.

September 2, 2000
First session of the 44th International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) conference at Royal Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, South Australia.

Enterprise agricultural journalism. 

Want to see Iowa’s tall corn grow? A new CornCam is capturing the growth of a corn plot in eastern Iowa for Internet viewers. Iowa Farmer staff members developed this project and Garst Seed Company financed what is believed to be the first effort to photograph the growth cycle of corn on the Internet. CornCam takes frequent still photos, so viewers can watch plants develop throughout the season. The or

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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