ACDC News – Issue 03-07

Struggling with the acronyms. 

“Who cares what I-F-A-S means?” Donald Poucher asked in a recent agricultural communications research paper. His analysis involved marketing efforts of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida. Demonstrated private industry success led him to observe that the actual words in a “name” acronym are irrelevant. He cited this example:

“…who knows (or cares) about the meaning of IBM, KFC, 3M, AT&T, MGM, IT&T, NASDAQ, and many others? What matters is the branding of the name and its positioning among customers and potential customers.”

Reference: On the “Real Search” page, use a title search (“Out with the old”) or author search (Poucher) for the full citation. The paper was posted on:

“People eat with their eyes,” 

Said H. A. Bereman in a 1916 article urging farmers to be more careful about promoting what they produce. “Did you ever think of that? That’s why we color our butter, and keep the white and brown eggs separate, and arrange the berries happy side up, and put things in spick and span shape before offering them to people who pick what looks nice.”

Looking ahead, Bereman argued, “As the farmer of the future is bound to devote more attention to marketing, advertising will occupy a large place in the plant of farm management. The only limit to this branch of business farming is the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the farmer himself.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Advertising farm products”) or author search (Bereman) for the full citation.

Communication for development – 10 insights gained. 

Jan Servaes recently identified 10 “developments that seem to have taken shape” to influence viewpoints about the role of communication in development:

  • The growth of a deeper understanding of communication itself
  • A new understanding of communication as a two-way process
  • A new understanding of culture
  • The trend toward participatory democracy
  • Recognition of the imbalance in communication resources
  • The growing sense of globalization and cultural hybridization
  • A new understanding of what is happening within the boundaries of the so-called nation-state
  • Recognition of the “impact” of communication technology
  • A new understanding towards an integration of distinct means of communication
  • The recognition of dualistic or parallel communication structures

Reference: Use a title search (“Communication for development”) or author search (Servaes) for the full citation.

When awareness meets profit in development communication.

Results of a recently reported study among coca growers in the jungle valleys of Peru offer a graphic lesson about the chasm between awareness and action. The growers – involved in illegal commercialization of coca leaf and cocaine basic paste (CBP) production – “consider coca leaf to be a most profitable product and a unique opportunity to improve their quality of life. Although growers acknowledge that a problem exists among local users, they do not assume any responsibility for CPB consumption and dissemination in rural areas.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Attitudes and values of Peruvian coca growers”) or author search (Rojas) for the full citation.

Community participation – the forms it takes. 

Researchers Sheridan Coakes and Brian Bishop have noted that theories and analyses of social participation focus primarily on the political and formal role of participation. However, their recent research among rural women in six shires of Western Australia showed that persons “find it difficult to separate formal and informal participation, when both have an equally important role to play in community life.” When the women were asked about their involvement in their communities, about 50% referred initially to their informal participation within the community rather than to formal community groups or associations.

Reference: Use a title search (“Defining the nature of participation”) or author search (Coakes) for the full citation.

Forces driving the privatization of information for agriculture.

Steven A. Wolf identified six economic and social forces in his introduction to a recent book featuring this subject:

  • Consolidation and globalization of agriculture and agribusiness, resulting in more in-house information expertise and use of advisory services. At the same time, more part-time and/or small farmers need diverse kinds of information, often outside the traditional extension model.
  • More customized information products (such as computer-aided databases and precision farming) rather than generic sets of regional recommendations. More interactive means of communication (such as internet and cellular technologies).
  • Relaxed trade barriers, lower domestic subsidies and more producers competing internationally for market share. As a result, “farmers and agribusinesses have great incentive to capture the benefits of information and ‘shield’ information from other firms.”
  • More differentiation of farm products and farm inputs, calling for more specialized information.
  • Growing importance of environmental quality, diet and health, greater awareness of agriculture-related risks and resulting need for new kinds of information delivered to varied publics.
  • Declining public investment in agricultural research and extension, resulting in more privatization of research and “marginalization of Extension.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Privatization of information”) or author search (Wolf) for the full citation.

And some time-tested advice to part of the private sector. 

You can see that we close this issue of ACDC News on an historical note. How about this piece of advice from a 1904 issue of Agricultural Advertising magazine?

The well-bred Cow is lady-like
And gentle, mild and bland,
Altho’ sometimes her leg she’ll hike
And kick to beat the band.
Which teaches advertisers they
Must to the Public bow
Or, like the cow, the Public may
Kick up an awful row

Professional activities approaching

April 15-17, 2003
Keep it fresh.” Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show at San Diego,California. Sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).

June 14-17, 2003
Cool bytes: jazz nights.” Annual meeting of the International Associationof Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE), National ExtensionTechnology Conference (NETC) and National Agricultural CommunicatorsCommunicators of Tomorrow (ACT) in Kansas City, Missouri.

June 18-22, 2003
“Farming under the public eye.” Meeting of the International Federation of
Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801) or electronic form (at

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