ACDC News – Issue 03-14

One-on-one consulting shows value in $$$$$.

We recently came upon one of those rare research projects that assess the economic value of agricultural information. The study invited clients to report on their use of crop management information during 1996-1998 from one-on-one consultations with Iowa State University extension specialists.

“Fifty-eight percent of crop management respondents indicated the information saved them $11 an acre or more. … At a time when both crop and livestock prices are at record lows, these savings are crucial to the producer and show the value of Extension information to the producer’s operation.”

Reference: Use a title search (Portfolio for the 21st century) or author search (Petrzelka) for the full citation. The article from Journal of Extension was posted at:

Communications to be a research theme of IFPRI.

During the years ahead, communications will be one of 12 major themes for the International Food Policy Research Institute. A recent strategy document of the organization identified “urban-rural linkages” as an area of research priority.

“With urbanization and rural change, new research will address urban-rural linkages, including consumption linkages, resource flows, communications, and labor migration and gender roles, as well as policy linkages.”

Reference: The full report, “IFPRI’s strategy toward food and nutrition security: food policy research, capacity strengthening and policy communication,” was posted on:

First employee publication in North America was agricultural. 

Researcher Peter Johansen offered that observation in a Journalism History article that we added recently to the ACDC collection. According to his finding: “In 1885, a Toronto-based agricultural implements maker, the Massey Manufacturing Company, inaugurated the Trip Hammer, which is widely believed to be the first true employee publication in North America.” He analyzed the purpose and content of it within the context of the Massey operation.

Reference: Use a title search (For better, higher) or author search (Johansen) for the full citation.

Rural development project keeps “marginalizing women.”

An analysis of project documents and a consultant’s field diary led researcher Clemencia Rodriguez to this conclusion in her study involving an agricultural development project in Colombia.

“Despite its bottom-up, participatory approach to development, this World Bank project keeps marginalizing women, assuming that only men play crucial roles in processes of community and nation building,” she said. She pointed toward a multi-layered discourse of development that “reinforces patriarchal cultural codes that exclude women from active participation in development projects.”

Reference: Use a title search (Shattering butterflies) or author search (Rodriguez) for the full citation.

Farm women using the internet more than their husbands use it.

“The internet is a tool for women’s traditional activities of bookkeeping and information seeking,” observed Supriya Singh in her study of gender differences in internet use among Australian farm couples. “Women also use the internet to connect with other women and family.”

These two appeals of the internet help explain why farm women use it more than do their husbands, according to Singh. “When women are comfortable with technology as a tool for activities, they stop seeing it as technology.”

Reference: Use a title search (Gender and the use of the internet) or author search (Singh) for the full citation.

Ethical lapses in farm publishing.

In 1931, Herbert Hungerford wrote of a circulation-boosting method known as “sheet writing:”

“If you have ever attended a county fair or a city exposition, probably you have seen some of the slickest boys in the tricky circulation game ‘doing their stuff.’ As you approach the magazine booth, one of the smiling subscription salesmen holds out a flashy fountain pen and hails you – ‘Free souvenir of the fair, mister?’ But, as you reach out to grasp the pen, you find your smiling friend grasping your hand instead as he promptly explains that this ‘free souvenir’ is given away to introduce a certain magazine which you also will receive free, provided you simply pay the postage required by the Government. If you hesitate, you are now handed the pen and urged to test its merits by writing your name on a slip of paper provided by your obliging salesman. Then if you do not fall for a ‘free souvenir subscription,’ the salesman will try at least to obtain your address and you may be enrolled as a subscriber anyway.”

Reference: Use a title search (How publishers win) or author search (Hungerford) for the full citation.

“Tips for tough interviews” 

Is the title of a recent article in the ByLine newsletter of American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Author Gil Gullickson referred to “those stories that aren’t so fun.” Examples: “The one about the farmer selling out a four-generation farm due to financial pressure. The one about the grandfather who ran over his grandson with a tractor. Or the one about the farmer facing a potential prison term.” Gullickson offered six ideas to help ease that job.

Reference: Use a title search (above) or author search (Gullickson) for the full reference.

Media coverage of the mad cow scare in Canada.

A Saskatchewan farmer’s view appeared in a newspaper article during late May. Kevin Hursh observed: “…there’s often a tendency to vilify the media and the swarms of reporters and photographers can be unsettling for producers who are used to their privacy, but for the most part…the media has done a reasonable job under difficult circumstances.”

He also commended the media for casting light on practices such as rendering dead animals into animal protein for pigs, chickens and pets. “While the general public may find this unsavoury, it’s reality.”

Reference: Use a title search (Mad cow coverage) or author search (Hursh) for the full citation. The article was posted online (May 28, 2003) at:

Professional activities approaching

September 28-30, 2003
“Media relations made easy.” A superworkshop of Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) at New Orleans, Louisiana.

October 1, 2003
Deadline for research papers and professional papers to be considered for presentation to the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists.
SAAS meets in Tulsa, Oklahoma

February 14-18, 2004.
Submissions are open to all members of Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE).

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 (at

August 2003

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