ACDC News – Issue 01-23

Protecting food from bio-attacks –

New focus for crisis communicators. Effective communicating comes to the forefront as the food industry considers how to increase biosecurity. “Communication is one of the most important areas for dealing with any biosecurity threat,” public relations executive Jere Sullivan is quoted as saying in a news report added recently to the ACDC collection. He described five criteria for a crisis communication plan.

Reference:  Use a title search (“Biosecurity and crisis communication”) or author search (Russell) for the full citation. Archived online (October 15, 2001) at:

Social movements – 

Powerful voices in the biotech debate. In a “perspectives” article for FarmWeek newspaper, Ann Reisner of the University of Illinois highlighted social movement organizations that are expressing concerns about genetic engineering in agriculture. Among them: health food movement, alternative agriculture movement, consumer and health movements, environmentalists, peace organizations, labor, human rights, international and nationalist, and animal rights organizations.

“.unusual is the degree to which various organizations are adopting and using arguments typical of other organizations,” she observed, and added: “Incorporating each other’s concerns increases the likelihood that these organizations will work together in other arenas.” She argued that to ignore their concerns in the ongoing debate on biotechnology “would be a move with potentially disastrous consequences.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Social movements raising opposition”) or author search (Reisner) for the full citation.

“.. it’s still a face-to-face, hard-copy world.” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Services recently funded a survey project among members of cooperatives in the upper Midwest, USA, to learn their preferred sources of cooperative news.

“Face time with co-op employees and managers ranked first and second on a list of 10 communications preferences,” reported researcher David Trechter. “So informal communications channels are still hugely important.” Cooperative newsletters ranked third. Electronic communications channels ranked tenth, prompting this advice to cooperative communicators: “.don’t rely too heavily on e-mail or a Web site to keep members up-to-date.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Communications linked to loyalty”) or author search (Campbell) for the full citation.

Growing gaps in stocks of scientific knowledge.

A report from the International Food Policy Research Institute assesses evidence regarding new knowledge being generated through investments in agricultural research and development by public and private agencies. Findings suggest that growth in R&D spending during the 1990s slowed dramatically in many parts of the world. And “the large and growing gap in research intensity between rich and poor countries continues to widen further in terms of total (public and private) spending.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Slow magic”) or author search (Pardey) for the full citation. Posted online at:

Internet being under-used for online meetings? 

The question arises in a report prepared recently for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in Australia. Authors observed after a two-year pilot study of joint research involving farmers and their advisers:

“There appears to be a general under-appreciation evident of the potential to conduct highly interactive online meetings, within agriculture. There are plentiful references to web pages, web page content, interactive web pages, and chat facilities; however, there is little if any reference to using the internet for interaction between people for the purposes of completing time sensitive tasks at reduced cost.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Farmers, advisers & researchers interacting on the net”) or author search (Hargreaves) for the full citation. Posted online at:

Don’t forget giveaways. 

An article in the Cooperative Communicators Association newsletter, CCA News, offers five tips from members about planning successful annual meetings. Free food tops the list, but “giveaways – from cash prizes to cars – are as important as free food to boosting attendance.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Making meeting magic”) or author search (Simmons) for the full citation.

Clouds over commodity promotion. 

A news article in Rural Cooperatives discusses implications of a U.S. Supreme Court decision siding with those who oppose mandatory checkoff programs for commodity promotion. The decision “puts in question a dozen generic product marketing programs with a combined budget of about $500 million to promote fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Supreme Court ruling clouds commodity marketing promotion”) for the full citation.

Here are topics raised in some recent inquiries that have come to the Center:

  • Sample television spots for corn herbicides during the past few years
    ·        Impact of the Internet on agriculture, now and in the future
    ·        Historical tapes of radio farm broadcasts
    ·        Factors influencing the farmer adoption process
    ·        Techniques for crisis management planning
    ·        Effectiveness of radio advertising among rural audiences
    ·        Careers open to agricultural communicators

Welcome to a new staff associate. 

This month we welcome Liz Kellaway of South Australia as a new staff associate in the Center. Liz is general manager of Turnbull Porter Novelli Adelaide, a public relations consultancy that specializes in rural and regional communications. She also is regional vice-president/South Pacific of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). We became acquainted during 1999 when, as a Churchill Fellow, Liz visited the University of Illinois and the Center during her study of agricultural communications strategies and methods in various countries. An avid learner, she knows the value of sharing professional knowledge and appreciates the mission of this international knowledge-sharing endeavor. In turn, we keenly appreciate her interest and volunteer support, and we look forward to working with her. You can reach her at

“This is the place in time.”

We close this issue of ACDC News with a poem presented by Pirjo Kontio at the farewell dinner of the 45th Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, Savonlinna, Finland, on September 9. The poem, cited in a recent issue of IFAJ News, was written by Finnish poet Tommy Tabermann.

This is the place in time.
For a moment
lightning is frozen in the sky
and the cranes discover
the south in their feathers.
This is the moment in the night,
filled with us to the brim.
This is the place in time.
Forward we cannot
proceed, backward
we would not want to go,
here we are unable
to stay for long.
In this place
I would like to lay my head to rest.

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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