ACDC News – Issue 00-19

Latest grants: light on communications research in food and agriculture.

Eighty-six research projects totaling $113 million were selected recently for funding through the 2000 awards program of the USDA/CSREES (Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service). This program, known as the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS), attracted hundreds of proposals. Among the 86 chosen for funding, here are projects that seem most closely related to communications:

  • “Measures of consumer acceptance of and willingness to pay for GM foods in the U.S. and the E.U.” 4 years. (audience analysis)
  • “Economic performance of market advisory services” 4 years. (accuracy of agricultural information)
  • “Bridging the urban/rural divide: marketing local food in the Mid Atlantic” 3 years. (food marketing communications)

Reference: You can see the list of 86 projects at

A new approach to guide development-related communicating.

A communication center in Zimbabwe has pioneered a people-oriented alternative to traditional communication research approaches. It is called “Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal (PRCA).” An article by Philippe Van der Stichele describes it and compares it with tools such as Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) and traditional communication research. PRCA uses a “starting with people” approach that offers potentials for establishing new communication programs and improving ongoing ones.

Reference: Use a title search (“Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal”) or author search (Van der Stichele) for the full citation, including a URL for online access to the article.

Resources for covering rural issues.

The Newslab web site ( has added a new page of links for beat reporters who want resources for covering rural issues. The links involve sites that feature agricultural statistics, rural development, rural policy and other areas of interest. Newslab is associated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“You must be a stronger writer than a rider.” 

That career advice comes from Leslie Baker, staff member of the American Quarter Horse Association, in an article deposited recently from the Western Horseman magazine. Baker said that her choice of agricultural communications was a good one for her because it gave her flexible skills she could apply to many jobs.

Reference: Use a title search (“Common and uncommon careers with horses”) or author search (Kreitler) for the full citation.

Helping agricultural marketers monitor Internet usage.

The newly formed Agribusiness Internet Advertising Council that we mentioned in a recent edition of “News and Announcements” now has a web presence:

This website describes the Council’s purpose and lists Council members. It will define key terms used in negotiation between buyers and sellers of Internet advertising. Members include web companies, advertising agencies and advertisers who sell products to farmers. They want to develop a system for auditing results of advertising placed on the Internet.

How agricultural freelancers are coping with change.

The September issue of ByLine newsletter from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) features an article on how three successful freelancers “are coping with the current climate in agricultural publishing.” It also reflects some of their views about the future.

Reference: Use a title search (“The times they are a changin'”) for the full citation.

“Am I using the database wrong?”

This question came to the Center recently from an online searcher who would like to get full-text articles rather than citations. Increasingly, we are able to report in the citation how to gain access, electronically, to documents in full-text form. In such cases, the note section of a citation provides a website address that you can use to read (and possibly retrieve) full-text documents of interest.

Copyright issues restrain our efforts to provide full-text information, as you can imagine. Also, full-text access requires the high costs and complexity of scanning thousands of documents. At this stage, we provide a service by helping you identify documents of possible interest. You may be able to gain access to them locally. If you cannot, then let us know the titles and document numbers. We will work with you to help arrange for access from the ACDC collection. One strength of this database is that we have at hand all documents identified in it.

How rural electric cooperatives are using education and communications.

A nationwide study this year shows that member relations and enhancement of the image of cooperatives in the public eye are the primary goals of such programs today. Increasing business volume and membership rank low among the goals of cooperative education and communications. This master’s thesis project by Michel M. Haigh of Texas Tech University analyzed the organization, staffing, budgets (rising), methods used, gaps and needs of education and communications programs within such cooperatives. Findings also identified deregulation and structural changes as current major subjects of concern for communicators and educators in rural electric cooperatives.

Reference: Use a title search (“A study on member education and communications programs in rural electric cooperatives”) or author search (Haigh) for the full citation.

Searchers can locate FFA magazines, newsletters and photos

In the National FFA Archives that opened officially during September in the Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) Library. You can check online to see what the collection offers: Examples include issues of New Horizons magazine (formerly National Future Farmer) from 1928-1998. Photos in the collection date back to 1916.

Here are some recent inquiries that have come to us at the Center:

  • Attitudes of farmers in India about biotech crops
  • Professionalism of agriculture college communicators
  • Media or communications companies that invest in agriculture
  • Communications aspects of sustainable agriculture
  • Public opinion studies related to plant disease
  • Using the Internet for agricultural advertising
  • Consolidation and concentration in U.S. farm publishing

We enjoy trying to help searchers find information. Please let us know ( if you are struggling to locate information about agriculture-related communications.

Professional meetings approaching.

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

November 8-12, 2000
“Enduring change, embracing opportunities @2000.” Annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) at the Westin Crown Center Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri.

November 10, 2000
Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) Networking Breakfast at the Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
Information: Kathleen Montgomery at

Misleading food labels?

This complaint reportedly came to a company that manufactures corn syrup:

“I’ve taken six bottles of your corn syrup and my feet are no better than when I started.”

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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