ACDC News – Issue 01-15

New – Francis C. Byrnes Memorial Collection.

It is a special pleasure to announce that nearly 800 new documents entered the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center collection recently through the generosity of Francis C. Byrnes and his family. Following the death in 1999 of this pioneering agricultural communicator, the family contributed his personal library of professional information to the Center.

How it may help you. 

The Byrnes Memorial Collection adds a wealth of useful information about planning, producing, and managing communication and training programs in agricultural research, extension, education, and development. You are likely to benefit from this collection whenever you search the ACDC collection using subject terms such as:

  • agricultural communication
  • development communication
  • rural development
  • consultants
  • training programs
  • communicators
  • extension communication
  • intercultural communication
  • management communication
  • research organizations
  • and many others

A career of global service and impact.

Frank Byrnes contributed for more than 60 years by applying communication as a behavioral science to agricultural research, extension, education, and development programs implemented by various development assistance organizations. Raised in rural Iowa, he earned an undergraduate degree in agricultural and technical journalism (Iowa State University, 1938) and Doctor of Philosophy degree in communication arts (Michigan State University, 1963).

His leadership in educational communicating traces back to the National Project in Agricultural Communications (NPAC), for which he served as associate director (1953-1960). In 1963, he began a 20-year affiliation with the Rockefeller Foundation. As a field staff member, he carried out communication, training, and management responsibilities at the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Colombia; and the International Agricultural Development Service, New York and Arlington, Virginia. After retiring from the Foundation in 1983 he continued as an active international consultant and as a senior associate of the Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. Responsibilities throughout his career involved teaching, consulting, and other development-related activities in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Early in his career he also edited a weekly newspaper, served in the U.S. Signal Corps and U.S. Air Force during World War II, and worked as an agricultural editor at Ohio State University.

Recognized for excellence. 

In 1986, he received the first Award of Excellence in International Affairs ever presented by the International Association of Agricultural Communicators in Education. Among numerous other honors: Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology; Outstanding Alumnus in Communication, Michigan State University; and Honorary Founder of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. From Iowa State University he received the Henry A. Wallace Award for Outstanding Contribution in Writing, Teaching, Research, and Leadership, and the James W. Schwartz Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism. In 1997 he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Association for International Agricultural Education and Extension.

We are pleased to help make his resources available

During the years ahead to other scientists, scholars, and practitioners through the Francis C. Byrnes Memorial Collection of ACDC. Among these resources you will find the professional papers Byrnes wrote while working or consulting with the Ohio State University, Michigan State University, International Rice Research Institute, International Center for Tropical Agriculture, International Agricultural Development Service, Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, and other international organizations.

What about the nontraditional materials in such a collection?

What about the notes, teaching materials and correspondence, for example? What will find use and value in the future? An insight struck us this week as we read Rising from the Plains. It is John McPhee’s biography of David Love. Love, whom Pulitzer Prize-winning author McPhee calls one of America’s most influential geologists, spent his career studying the Rocky Mountains for the U.S. Geological Survey. This biography highlighted the geologist’s scientific rigor, intellectual power, and creativity. But its greatest liveliness and sharpest focus emerged through insights that came from personal journals kept by Love’s mother and from McPhee’s travels with Love.

A first for farm television.

Farm broadcaster Dan Wilkinson, WRAL-TV, Raleigh, North Carolina, recently helped pioneer newscasting in high definition (HD) video. The June issue of NAFB Chats from the National Association of Farm Broadcasters reports that Wilkinson produced a segment of the world’s first complete newscast in HD. Reporting from the North Carolina State Fair, he used this new technology to help “move the viewer one step closer to your story and one step closer to being on the farm with you.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Technology in broadcasting”) or author search (Frenz) for the full citation.

A new Rural Programming Initiative.

An update in Community Radio News describes progress on a new Rural Programming Initiative by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (U.S.). This three-year initiative is designed to help rural radio stations not effectively measured by Arbitron improve their public service. It will involve 20 stations, a group buy of audience research, a new manual for rural program directors and an online rural programming center.

Reference: Use a title search (“Rural programming initiative”) for the full citation.

New research papers from ACE conference.

Thanks to Joan Thomson, chair of the Research Special Interest Group of Agricultural Communicators in Education. She has provided the Center with the following nine research papers presented during the late-July ACE conference in Toronto, Canada. We are pleased to help announce them and make them available.

  • Lulu Rodriguez, “Food safety vs. food security: how the African media shape the GMO debate”
  • Susan Grantham and Tracy Irani, “Off the radar screen: examining the effect of critical thinking on perception of low level environmental risk”
  • Daniel H. Henroid, Jr. and James J. Huss, “Educating consumers on food safety via the World Wide Web”
  • Tracy Irani and Ricky Telg, “Building it so they will come: assessing universities’ distance education faculty training and development programs”
  • Stan Ernst and Mark Tucker, “Perceptions and adoption of information technologies: implications for Ohio’s produce industry in the New Economy”
  • Sharon B. Stringer and Joan Thomson, “The importance of agricultural news sources in framing the news”
  • Kristina M. Boone, Mark Tucker and Jackie M. McClaskey, “Reaching opinion leaders on the Hill: results from a mixed-methods study”
  • Randy Weckman and Deborah Witham, “What Kentuckians believe about genetically engineered foods”
  • Kristina M. Boone, Karen Penner and Becky Zenger, “Communicating with Latino immigrants on safe food handling”

Reference: Use title or author searches (above) for the full citations. All are available in electronic or paper formats.

A livestock behaviorist: 

Someone who pulls habits out of rabbits.

Professional activities approaching:

September 8-12, 2001
2001 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists at Savonlinna, Finland.

September 13-16, 2001
“CFWF 2001: An Atlantic Odyssey.” Meeting of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation at Fredericton, New Brunswick.

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 them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 69 Mumford Hall, University of Illinois, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801) or electronic form ( Thank you.

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