ACDC News – Issue 03-18

Advisory services – beating the market? 

No, according to a seven-year study of corn and soybean marketing advice offered by advisory services in the U.S. between 1995 and 2002. Results showed “limited evidence that advisory services, as a group, outperform market benchmarks.”

However, researchers Darrel Good, Scott Irwin and Joao Martines-Filho suggested that advisory services still can help corn and soybean producers improve marketing performance. Why? Because producers appear to under-perform the market significantly on their own.

Reference: On the “Real Search” page, use a title search (Marketing services studies) for the full citation. A summary of results was posted online at:

A loud round of applause, a cheer, a champagne toast, and thumbs up 

That is what members of Cooperative Communicators Association are extending to those who founded their organization 50 years ago. Members used their 2003 CCA Institute to celebrate this occasion during June in Madison, Wisconsin. Also, they have published an interesting 40-page history that we added recently to the ACDC collection:

CCA 50 Years, 1953-2003: Raising the Standards of Cooperative Communication.

It includes a special “Remember when?” section that features comments from those who have taken part in CCA. We add our congratulations to this lively, valuable organization of professional cooperative communicators.

Reference: Further information about the observance is available on:

“Changing role of media in agrimarketing” 

Is the title of an analysis published recently in Agri Marketing magazine. Author David C. Aeschliman examined media trends such as the following that are sparked by consolidation and other dynamics in the farming and agribusiness sectors:

  • Farm periodicals expanding into other media such as agricultural radio and television, Internet, direct mail, farm shows and niche publications.
  • Farm publishers moving into writing, photography, design, printing, mailing and other services traditionally provided by advertising agencies.
  • National farm periodicals trying to incorporate more localized and customized messaging, a role traditionally served by local farm newspapers.

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

Food scares and lost faith in official expertise. 

A recent book, Media and Health, highlighted British media coverage of two major food scares – salmonella in eggs and bovine spongiform encelphalopathy (BSE, “Mad Cow Disease”).

“Indeed, an important theme of the BSE scare has been the capacity of the critical media to position itself as the voice of ordinary people who have lost their faith in official expertise,” observed author Clive Seale.

Reference: Use a title search (Media and health) for the full citation.

How food shoppers relieve their feeling of risk. 

A research report that we added recently to the ACDC collection identified some risk-relieving strategies used by a sample of British students. The top three strategies, across all food products, included:

  • Brand loyalty
  • Reading consumer guides
  • Reading product information

Strategies considered least useful:

  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Special offers

Reference: Use a title search (Consumer perceived risk) or author search (Mitchell) for the full citation.

Striking the proper balance in the academy. 

Mark Tucker, Sherrie R. Whaley and Jamie Cano have provided a useful analysis of academic programs in agricultural communications. Their 2003 report in the Journal of Agricultural Education examined several aspects of balance important to the future of such programs.

  • Balance in emphasis between career-oriented undergraduate curricula and the expanding needs for research to support teaching and outreach efforts in agricultural communications.
  • Balance in the roles of agricultural communications faculty members as they collaborate with private industry.
  • Balance in building constructive collaborative relationships with other academic programs such as agricultural education and rural sociology with which agricultural communications programs sometimes share academic homes.

Reference: Use a title search (Agricultural education and agricultural communications) or author search (Tucker) for the full citation.

A good editor is not an adroit manipulator 

And a clever twister of words, argued Paul C. Johnson, former editor of Prairie Farmer state farm paper. Rather, he suggested, the good editor is:

  • A skilled craftsman in one or more forms of communication
  • A diligent conveyor of information and inspiration
  • A wise counselor to others in their striving to be articulate
  • A keen detector of error and humbug and a sworn enemy of such
  • A eager listener for ideas new and untried
  • A lover of people and a tireless student of human nature
  • A believer in the power of truth

Reference: Use a title search (Our job) or author search (Johnson) for the full citation.

The greatest danger of being an agricultural journalist. 

“There are dangers in this beat,” Jerry Hagstrom told fellow members of North American Agricultural Journalists Association earlier this year, “and the biggest of them is the pressure to be a booster.” At an NAAJ awards program in Washington D.C., the veteran reporter described his career experiences, including the pleasures and challenges of agricultural reporting.

Reference: Use a title search (Hagstrom told us) for the full citation. The speech was posted online at:

Professional activities approaching

November 11-16, 2003
“NAFB – a voice for agriculture.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters at the Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri. Information:

“Shouldn’t that be ‘comprises’?” 

An alert reader of ACDC News raised the question in response to a mischievous challenge from Stephen Wilbers about appropriate wording:

“The list is comprised of/composed of 75 common errors.”

Wilbers says that either of two approaches is appropriate:
“The list is composed of…”
“The list comprises…”

He adds that “comprised of” is always wrong.

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. Send

  • hard copies to:
    Ag Com Documentation Center
    510 LIAC Library
    1101 S. Goodwin Avenue
    Urbana, IL 61801
  • or electronic copies to:

October 2003

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