ACDC News – Issue 02-21

Challenges to farm publications (from nearly 40 years ago).

Advertising agency executive Bob Palmer offered these predictions about farm publications when he wrote in a 1963 issue of Agri Marketing magazine:

  • Advertising copy will become highly technical and media selection will be acutely affected.
  • Agricultural advertisers “will be deeply involved with the selection of those media that reach – and more importantly, influence – their primary market – the one-third of all farmers who will control all but 10 percent of the business.”
  • Consumer goods advertising in farm publications will decline rapidly.
  • Good farmers will need all three types of information: specialized, state (translate national into local application) and national-regional.
  • By 1970 fewer wives will be assistant farm managers; traditional women’s pages will create “an inconsistency of presentation which will seriously inhibit the development of your businesslike image.”
  • Subscription prices “must be high enough to guarantee that a publication is truly important to subscribers.”

Reference: Use a title search (“A challenge to farm publications”) or author search (Palmer) for the full citation.

And today? Tomorrow?

Results of a recent survey among 2,418 U.S. farmers identified agricultural magazines and newspapers as their first-ranked medium for continuing education and for awareness of new products, equipment and suppliers. Findings also indicated that 58 percent believe agricultural publications will be “more important” or “much more important” in the next 3-4 years. Only 8 percent said they believe ag publications will be “less important” or “much less important.” This pattern held across farmers of all ages, according to the findings by Martin Akel & Associates in an independent study sponsored by the Agri Council of American Business Media (ABM).

Reference: Use a title search (“Adoption of agricultural brands”) for the full citation. We have added a paper copy of the report to the ACDC collection. In addition, the report was posted on the ABM web site:

New resources for research about agricultural publishing.

We are delighted to report that the historical materials of the Agricultural Publishers Association (APA) are finding a home in the University of Illinois Archives. APA officially dissolved as an independent organization during October and became the American Business Media (ABM) Agri Council. The APA materials will be processed into the University of Illinois Archives during the months ahead. During that process we in the Center plan to review them and identify for ACDC searchers those documents that may hold broad interest for researchers, students, teachers, practitioners and others. By so doing we can help expand the access and usefulness of information in the APA Archives.

APA materials seem especially relevant to the University of Illinois Library, which contains one of the most extensive research collections of U.S. farm periodicals.

What it takes to live 100 years.

 In the previous issue of ACDC News we noted that Successful Farming magazine is observing its 100th birthday. If you, your students or others want to learn more about the keys to this unusual achievement, we may be able to help you do so. The ACDC collection contains dozens of documents about the origin and progress of Successful Farming, as well as the philosophies that have guided it. You can identify such documents through “Subject” searches on the “Real Search” page, using terms such as:

  • Successful Farming
  • Meredith
  • “farm journals” history

Planning to call a CEO this evening?

“You wouldn’t call a CEO of a company in the evening and expect him to respond,” said farmer panelists at an Agricultural Relations Council meeting during September. Similarly, they argued, evening phone surveys directed at farm homes are unprofessional. Members of the panel also offered other suggestions about how agricultural firms and organizations can communicate with – and for – today’s producers. A summary of the panel discussion appeared, along with other meeting highlights, in a special edition of ARClight Newsletter.

Reference: Use a title search (“Producer panel provides”) for the full citation. The issue was posted online at:

Consumers confused about nut labeling.

“Labeling of products that may contain nuts is inconsistent and often confusing,” according to a report from the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom. The report noted that consumers with nut allergy have to be extremely careful that the food they eat does not contain nuts and is not contaminated with nuts during production. “But the new report…shows that manufacturers use a wide variety of phrases to describe traces of nut contamination and the warning is often difficult to find on labels.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Nut labeling”) for the full citation. A summary of the report was posted

Best predictors of nutrition label reading.

Results of a national study reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association identified these attitudinal factors as strongest predictors of label use among adults:

  • Believing in the importance of eating a low-fat diet.
  • Believing in the association between diet and cancer.

Label use was significantly associated with lower fat intake, but not with the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Researchers also examined demographic characteristics and health behavior of label readers.

Reference: Use a title search (“Use of food nutrition labels”) or author search (Neuhouser) for the full citation.

Slim odds of dying from food.

According to the National Safety Council, the odds during 1998 of Americans dying from consuming food and poisonous plants were 1 in 90,082,667. Lifetime odds are 1 in 1,174,481. “In most states, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than of dying from bad food,” observed a recent Lean Trimmings item that reported these findings. The most recent data, compiled from statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, are from 1998.

Reference: Use a title search (“What odds”) or author search (Kernellu) for the full citation. The news item was posted on FSNet (September 4, 2002)

Some recent reactions from Documentation Center users:

  • “I’ve found it to be very helpful. Lots of good information and a great links page.”
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  • “Congratulations to the founders and those who have done the work necessary to collect and make available 20,000 documents. Mind boggling.”
  • “Thanks for another excellent ACDC News.”
  • “…really appreciated your good advice and information.”
  • “Thanks for your help.”
  • “An especially rich collection of materials…”

Do pigs discuss flying?

From G.K. Chesterton: “I have myself a poetical enthusiasm for pigs, and the paradise of my fancy is one where pigs have wings. But it is only men, especially wise men, who discuss whether pigs can fly; we have no particular proof that pigs ever discuss it.”

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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