ACDC News – Issue 00-20

The gods are drinking milk.

Recently we mentioned a new book that features a “Got milk?” advertising campaign in the U.S. Now we have come upon a 1999 journal article that highlights word-of-mouth diffusion of a major milk-related event in India. During late 1995 researchers traced (by telephone survey in New Delhi) diffusion of news that Hindu deity idols were consuming milk when devotees offered it to them. The event ignited keen public interest. Whereas mass media often predominate in creating awareness, 99 percent of the respondents said they first heard of this event through word-of-mouth.

Reference: Use a title search (“The gods are drinking milk”) for the full citation.

The public’s healthy return on investment in Extension. 

A new research report from the International Food Policy Research Institute sheds light on the value of agricultural information. This report takes a comprehensive look at rates of return to investments in agricultural research and development since 1953. Authors analyzed 292 studies reporting a total of 1,886 rate of return estimates. The median rate of return estimate for Extension in this group of studies: 62.9 percent a year. Average reported rates of return for public investment in agricultural R&D, generally, were “much higher than is commonly understood, and the range is much greater.”

Reference: Use a title search (“A meta-analysis of rates of return to agricultural R&D”) or an author search (Alston) for the full citation, including a URL for online access.

Why “target audiences”? An alternative to combat terminology.

Human communication implies cooperative interaction. Yet one-way, coercive strategies are implied in commonly used terminology such as “target audiences.” Three staff members of the Center of Communication for Development, Southern African Development Community, are using an alternative expression: “interaction groups.” They explain:

“Interaction groups are seen as sources of information, initiators of action, and decision makers. They can be individuals, associations, agencies, institutions or cooperatives in and outside the community whose activities, needs, problems affect the people in a positive or negative manner.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Participatory rural communication appraisal (PRCA) methodology”) or author search (Anyaegbunam) for the full citation, including a URL for online access.

Insensitive (and inaccurate) agricultural reporting.

An article in the September newsletter of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation asks if farm writers need to “look outward” and “set the record straight when we see inaccuracies” in agricultural reporting by general media. In one example cited, a metropolitan newspaper reporter, relying on phonetic spelling, quoted a weather-besieged farmer as having “lost a crapload of pudaydas.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Our role as farm writers”) or author search (Tennison) for the full citation, including the URL for online access.

Shopper’s choice – pesticides or GM.

What happens if shoppers in a produce market see signs such as these placed by baskets of sweet corn for sale?

  • Option A – “This basket of corn is genetically modified, but had no pesticides used.”
  • Option B – ” This basket is ‘normal,’ but was sprayed three times with a chemical pesticide called carbofuran.”

A direct marketer in Ontario, Canada, used the approach as an experiment one day this summer and observed that two people out of three opted for the GM corn.

Reference: Use a title search (“Shoppers select genetically modified food”) or author search (Smith) for the full citation.

Want to choose media for distance education?

Wendy Truelove, communications consultant with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations, recently presented a useful, concise resource for doing so. This planning tool includes:

  • Questions to ask for consideration of circumstantial factors (e.g., funds)
  • Model for selecting media for distance education
  • Ideas for increasing interaction with subject matter using different media

Reference: Use a title search (“The selection of media for distance education in agriculture”) or author search (Truelove) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Lots of new farm broadcasting documents

Came into the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) Archives at the University of Illinois during recent weeks. Here are a few sample materials that soon will be processed and made available:

  • “Early farm broadcasters in their own words.” Videotape recording. Larry Quinn of USDA interviews NAFB Past Presidents Layne Beaty, Roy Battles and Don Lerch.
  • Professional improvement and other presentations made during the 1998 and 1999 NAFB conventions, Kansas City, Missouri. Audio cassettes.
  • Sample farm radio program aired almost 60 years ago, during 1941.
  • Ag Media Reports 1998-1999.

Reference: You can review, online, a finding aid about materials available in the NAFB Archives. Use the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Archives site on our “Useful Links” page.

Millions watching the corn grow.

The CornCam that we mentioned several months ago as an example of enterprise agricultural reporting is attracting lots of Internet viewers. This season-long project has involved photographing the growth cycle of corn in an Iowa plot. It “has captured the interest of Internet surfers from around the world,” according to a recent update from AgPRonline. “The CornCam web page recorded its 1 millionth page view before the end of June barely one month after going live.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Iowa Farmer Today CornCam corn harvest”) for the full citation. The CornCam website is

New documents from NETC 2000.

Here are some documents that have been added to the ACDC collection from the National Extension Technology Conference earlier this year at College Station, Texas:

  • “County Extension web pages: how they’re done and what works”
  • “Making the cognitive leap: out of the box and into the future with food tracer technology”
  • “Distance education from the learner’s view”
  • “AICS: accountability, information and communications system”
  • “Distance diagnostics in Georgia”

Reference: Use title searches for the full citations, including noted URLs for online access.

A learning insight from a rural proverb.

What I hear, I forget.
What I see, I remember.
What I do, I know.

Reference: Use a title search (“Listening to farmers”) or author search (Balit) for the full citation, including URL for online access to the report from which this proverb came.

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, questions and ideas for ACDC. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents that we might add to the collection. Thank you.

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