ACDC News – Issue 02-03

More food/ag/rural content coming to the Internet? 

And in home-country language? According to the 2001 State of the Internet Report, the global population of online users “crossed the half billion milestone and online demographics began to increasingly reflect offline realities. Significantly, native English speakers lost their dominance in 2001 and now represent approximately 45% of the online population.”

How might this trend influence Internet content for a global community in which most nations and their citizens are directly and urgently involved in issues related to food and agriculture – and for whom English is not their native language?

Reference: A news report about the 2001 State of the Internet Report is available online at: It comes from the United States Internet Council.

Language: why the Internet didn’t leap like satellite TV in Nepal. 

“It’s not only expense that puts it [the Internet] way, way behind,” said one source cited in a recently added report by Cherilyn Parsons about adoption of information technologies in Nepal. “It’s language. Sat-TV comes in Chinese, Hindi, other languages.” Parsons reported that “Language is the first and most obvious barrier. There are 22 different official languages in South Asia, and they use different alphabets than English does.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Online news in Nepal”) or author search (Parsons) for the full citation. The report is posted online at:

Nearly 500 documents about risk communicating now fit into the ACDC collection.

All of them deal with communications aspects of food and agriculture (e.g., biotechnology, food irradiation, nutrition labeling, livestock diseases, cloning of livestock, food biosecurity and forest/wildlife preservation). They date back to 1972. More than 90 of them came into the collection during 2001, reflecting a growing interest in this topic.

Reference: Use a subject search (“risk communication”) for the list of titles, beginning with the most recent. And please alert us to other documents that we should add to this expanding collection.

Mere grist for the image control mill.

There is a propensity for information descend to mere grist for the image control mill,” observed Darren Schmidt of Australia in a recent extension conference presentation. He described a group of information extension officers who support each other in efforts to produce and deliver quality information which can be used judiciously as a learning resource (extension context) rather than “ill-targeted promotion material for the policy de jour.” This paper outlined the purpose, formation, composition, operations, progress and challenges of the group.

Reference: Use a title search (“Information and Communication Network”) or author search (Schmidt) for the full citation. Posted online at:

Agriculture. A comfort factor in the U.S. public mind. 

Signs of this appeared in results of the Battleground 2002 Survey conducted among U.S. registered voters during April 2001. Less than one-half of one percent of respondents said they think agriculture/farming/ranching is the number one problem that they and their families are most concerned about. Top concerns? These included the economy (12 percent), education (11 percent), moral/religious concerns (7 percent), crime (5 percent) and drugs (5 percent).

Reference: Use a title search (“Battleground 2002 Survey”) or author search (Tarrance) for the full citation. Posted in the Academic Universe of Lexis-Nexis:

Ignorance is no bliss.

It is a severe handicap in a social environment where knowledge is power.” This observation came from B.S.S. Rao in “Rural development: communication systems and working out strategies.” In the book chapter, Rao urged communicators to evolve rural development strategies that reach those needing information, provide the right information at the right time by the right means, and at optimal costs.

Reference: Use a title search (above) or author search (Rao) for the full citation, including details about the 1994 book in which this chapter appeared.

How farmers gather information these days.

Following are titles of some documents that we added during 2001 about the information sources that farmers use today in making decisions:

  • “Farmer radio listening ratings, past and present”
  • “Growers find increased value on the Web”
  • “Commercial Producer Insights, Part 2”
  • “Poll shows change in ag trends”
  • “Keep the presses rolling: magazines win an important ‘election'”
  • “Marketing Australian wheat”

Reference: Use a subject cross-search (farmers “information sources”) for the full list of documents added during 2001, as well as more than 180 documents from earlier years.

Trends in Australia’s agricultural media sector. 

An update in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) newsletter identified several trends and recent developments. Author Liz Kellaway noted:

  • Concentration of ownership in agricultural publications.
  • Several major daily metropolitan newspapers with rural editors or reporters looking at rural issues and putting them into an urban context.
  • Television and radio coverage of agriculture dominated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a national publicly funded broadcaster which incorporates television, radio and internet-based services. Staffing for regional/rural coverage has increased recently.
  • Emergence of portal web sites (from media, marketers and organizations) that offer news and information content to the rural sector. “This may be contributing towards a growing trend for Australian farmers to look to the Internet as an increasingly important source of information.

Reference: Use a title search (“Broadcast getting increased resources”) or author search (Kellaway) for the full citation. The article is posted on:

Cooking schools come back. 

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reported that renewed interest in home cooking is one of 20 food-related trends for 2002. “Across the country after Sept. 11, couples with show-off home kitchens began to take cooking classes to learn to use them, while younger couples and singles have been signing up too, hoping to eat better–and more cheaply–when they eat at home.” Expanding cookbooks are among other noted trends of possible interest to food communicators.

Reference: Use a title search (“20 trends for 2002”) for the full citation. The article was posted online at:

Professional meetings approaching.

March 8-9, 2002
ACT Regional Conference hosted by the Oklahoma State University Chapter of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Stillwater, OK. Career-oriented workshops feature professionals in agricultural public relations, advertising, broadcasting, publications and more.

March 29, 2002
Deadline for 1- to 2-page abstracts to be submitted for papers proposed for presentation during Research Special Interest Group sessions of the Agricultural Communicators in Education meeting, Savanna, Georgia USA, during August.
Information: Sherrie Whaley at

April 17-19, 2002
“Catch the rhythm.” Agri-marketing conference and trade show at Nashville, Tennessee USA. Sponsored by National Agri-Marketing Association.

April 18, 2002
Public relations sessions and membership meeting of Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Nashville, Tennessee.

May 18-22, 2002
“Innovation through cooperation.” National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) at Pennsylvania State University. For persons interested in using or supporting technology in extension.

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 unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 69 Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801) or electronic form (

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