ACDC News – Issue 01-01

New Year’s greetings from the ACDC staff.

We wish you the best during 2001. The Agricultural Communications Documentation Center moves into this new year with an important and promising agenda. Effective communicating has never been more important than it is today in the broad field of agriculture, food, rural development and natural resources. And we are dedicated to helping communicators meet that challenge.

New food safety survey.

Thanks to folks at CMF&Z Marketing Communications, Des Moines, Iowa, for providing a copy of the 2000 Food Safety Survey. This survey measures U.S. consumer attitudes and editor perceptions about a wide range of food safety issues, including irradiation, genetically modified organisms, organic foods, credibility of organizations within the food industry, and more. ACDC has a set of these annual survey reports for your reference, dating back to 1995.

Reference: Use a title search (“Food Safety Survey”) for citations and document numbers.

The prospects for computers (as seen 35 years ago).

Recently we added to the ACDC collection an interesting 1966 article in the American Scholar journal about the future role of computers. Author David B. Hertz suggested that computers can help address a “world communications crisis” in which technology has “totally outstripped” the management processes of institutions. He sketched this vision of computers in agriculture:

“Agriculture is an excellent example of an area that could benefit greatly from applied computer techniques. There isn’t enough food in the world. And the difference between the haves and have-nots – the people who are eating and the people who are starving – is very great. Yet it is certainly perfectly possible to feed the world. Instead of viewing it as a place in which each country is responsible for feeding its inhabitants, we could look at it as one unit from an agricultural point of view. The world then becomes simply many plots of ground in which differing techniques are used to produce a variety of agricultural products. Looking at the world as one unit, we can work with the computer to learn the most effective method of producing food on each of the various plots of ground and to determine the requirements of food for all the populations of the world…”

Reference: Use a title search (“Computers and the world communications crisis”) or author search (Hertz) for the full citation.

Presentations at “” conference.

Today’s cutting-edge uses of electronic technologies came under discussion during late October at the “” conference on the University of Illinois campus. The UI Agricultural and Environmental Communications Alumni Group sponsored this one-day program that featured eight presentation about the latest in agricultural communications technology. Following are some of those presentations available in the Center:

  • “Overview of the impact of Internet on agriculture – now and in the future.” Presentation by Bob Coffman, editorial director of
  • “How the Internet and technology are changing the business of designing, building and selling farm equipment.” Presentation by J. R. Russ Green, Senior Director, Marketing, North America, Case IH Agricultural Business
  • “Wireless Internet technology and the rural community.” Presentation by Dennis Riggs, Illinois General Manager of PrairieInet

Reference: Use title searches for the full citations, including details about forms (electronic or hard copy) in which they are available.

Cow pats: “earthy” technologies for communicating.

One hundred fifty cow patties (or pies) spelled the word “HELP” early last month in front of Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. According to a report from Australian Associated Press, dairy farmers used this method to tell legislators that industry deregulation “had ripped $800 million from their pockets. … Australian Milk Producers’ Association (AMPA) president John Cartwright said almost $4 billion had been wiped off the value of farmers’ assets, while dairy communities were $2 billion worse off.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Farmers deliver cow pats to pollies”) for the full citation.

New “how to” resource for today’s cooperative communicator.

The Cooperative Communicators Association has published a new CCA Handbook 2000. This 90-page handbook features seven categories:

  • communicating for and about cooperatives
  • newsletters and other periodicals
  • reporting and writing
  • meeting and event planning
  • media relations
  • communications management
  • technical (video, photography, portable document format (PDF)

Reference: For details, contact CCA at

Thanks for your encouragement.

Those of us on the ACDC staff greatly appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Here are recent examples that warmed our hearts:

  • “The Ag Com Documentation Center is like a lifeline to me! What a wonderful resource.”
  • “There is not an awareness site that I see on the ‘net that comes close to the high proportion of interesting and useful reports as does yours. … Take a moment to feel some pride. Then get back to work. We need to know more of what you have yet to find.”
  • “…wonderful database…”
  • “Thank you for ACDC. What a great contribution it is to the field.”

Approaching professional event.

Following are some conferences and other kinds of professional improvement events about agriculture-related communicating:

January 27-31, 2001
Agricultural Communications Section will report research during the 98th annual meeting of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) in Fort Worth, Texas.

February 15, 2001
“Genetic manipulation or information manipulation?” Presentation at a meeting of the Rural Media Association of South Australia. Features a representative of the Commonwealth Government agency, Biotechnology Australia.
Information: Visit RMA web site via the ACDC “Related Links” page.

March 15, 2001
Deadline for abstracts of proposed communications research presentations at the 2001 Agricultural Communicators in Education/ National Extension Technology Conference (ACE/NETC).
Information: Joan S. Thomson at


Creative response to post-holiday weight challenges.

The doctor pointed to the scale and, when the hefty young patient stood on it, read the weight: 192 pounds.

“Have you kept your weight fairly stable? the doctor asked.
“Sure have,” replied the young man.
“What was the most you ever weighed?
“About 185 pounds.”
“And the least?”
“Eight pounds four ounces.”


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 this collection. We welcome documents in hard copy or electronic forms. Thank you.

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