ACDC News – Issue 00-15

Useful new materials from ACE researchers.

The Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) conference in Washington, D.C., during late July, offered a useful selection of new information for professional communicators and others. For example, here are some research papers presented to the Research Special Interest Group:

  • “The framing of an agricultural controversy: how Iowa newspapers covered the food irradiation issue”
  • “City meets country in The Columbus Dispatch: an Ohio metropolitan newspaper’s treatment of land use issues”
  • “A pilot project to establish an educational research series in applied communications”
  • “Sources of agricultural news: an evaluation by Pennsylvania media”
  • “Factors promoting the adoption of telecommunications technologies in rural America”
  • “Communication competencies and extension managerial performance of county extension chairs in Ohio”
  • “Overcoming barriers to learning in distance education: developing tools to improve distance learners’ chances for success”
  • “How triggering events affect mass media coverage and source use concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Britain and the United States”
  • “Emerging new models for agricultural communication in Russia: effects of the five-year ARIS World Bank Project”

Reference: Use title searches (above) for the full citations. Check with us for information about how to gain electronic access to documents that interest you.

Happy 30th birthday, ACT.

Members, advisors, alumni and friends of the American Association of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow staged a 30th birthday party during the recent annual ACT meeting in Washington, D.C. This college student organization formed in 1970. You can see news and photos from the convention, plus a presentation highlighting 30 years of ACT activities, at

Information: a real profit booster for producers.

An analysis reported recently in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics emphasizes the economic value of information to corn producers. Authors Philippe Bontems and Alban Thomas found that information and risk premium/aversion together account for about 20% of profit per acre for Midwest corn production. Their findings argue in favor of improving the knowledge that farmers have about soil and crop conditions during the growing season.

Reference: Use author or title search (“Information value and risk premium in agricultural production: the case of nitrogen application for corn”) for the full citation.

Where farmers get their information (a 78-year view).

Hundreds of documents in the ACDC collection deal with information sources of farmers – across the decades and around the world. You will find, for example, that documents about this subject trace back to 1922. And specific studies deal with the information sources of farmers in at least 15 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Reference: You can review the comprehensive list through a cross-subject search, using the following subject terms: < “information sources” AND farmers>. Other documents related to this broad subject emerge through searches on related terms that you can see in the thesaurus. Samples: “media use,” “information seeking,” “media effectiveness.” Let us know if we can help you search or if you would like to discuss possible research projects.

Ideas for communications researchers:

  • Might this collection help provide a basis for research projects about long-term trends in farmers’ information sources?
  • Might it provide a basis for research projects about patterns in information seeking and differences that appear across cultures and across agricultural topics?

New media training program available.

Ricky Telg and Linda Kubitz of the University of Florida have produced a comprehensive new set of media relations training materials. A copy of this set went into the ACDC collection recently:

Meeting the press: communicating 4-H environmental education programs to the media

The program has two purposes:

  1. Teach 4-H and other Extension agents how to market their environmental education program stories to the media.
  2. Provide agents with materials they can use to teach 4-H members how to build positive, productive relationships with the news media in their communities.

Training materials include fact sheets with suggested activities, written materials about how to work with media, an educational videotape and a related web site (

Reference: Use a title search for the full citation. Ricky Telg ( can provide details about the program.

More perspectives in the biotechnology “debate:”

“This is not a radical issue. This is an issue for every mother.”

“Let’s lose the term ‘GMOs’ in favor of ‘food biotechnology’ or ‘agricultural biotechnology’ instead.” (spokesperson for an agribusiness firm)

“…billions of dollars’ worth of research into engineered foods means nothing without consumer acceptance.”

Efforts to measure agricultural advertising on websites.

A new organization – Agribusiness Internet Advertising Committee (AIAC) – is taking steps to refine measurement of farm-oriented advertising on the Internet. More than 40 representatives from media companies, advertising agencies and advertisers met during June in Brookfield, Wisconsin. They endorsed voluntary, third party auditing of Web sites that sell advertising to agricultural marketers. In an effort to help advertisers assess what they are buying, these AIAC representatives want to establish standards and provide accreditation of such sites.

Reference: Use a title search (“Agricultural web coalition clicks ahead”) for the full citation.

Getting complete printouts.

Have you noticed that it’s easier these days to get full-page printouts from ACDC “News and Announcements?” Complete lines. No cut-offs at the right margin. That’s because we recently adjusted the web site to permit you to print full pages more successfully from it. Let us know if you have problems.

Case report about a major communications campaign.

The Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) was developed to control and eradicate rinderpest, a highly contagious and frequently fatal disease of cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals. Believed to be the largest livestock development project in Africa, it covered a region of 34 countries. A communications component was practically nonexistent in 1987, “regarded at best with indifference.” By 1993 it had become the most popular project component, viewed by national authorities as “truly beneficial” throughout the region. A case report about this campaign appeared in World Animal Review during 1994. It is part of an ACDC collection that is strong in literature about communications campaign planning, as related to food and agriculture.

Reference: Use a title search (“The Pan-African rinderpest campaign: where communication is the key”) for the full citation. Text is available online at

Professional meetings approaching.

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

September 28 – October 1, 2000
“CFWF 2000.” Conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation at Lethbridge, Alberta. Theme: “Farming on the green planet – the new age of stewardship.”

October 8 – 10, 2000
“Engaged institutions’ role in biotechnology education.” Symposium at Iowa State University, Ames. For representatives of educational institutions

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, questions or ideas for ACDC — invite help in searching — and suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents that we might add to this collection. Thank you.

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