ACDC News – Issue 03-22

Search questions coming our way. 

You may be interested in some of the topics involved in special requests that come our way in the Documentation Center. Here are several topics on which we have tried to help provide information during recent months:

  • Daily newspaper reporting of issues facing rural communities
  • Changing roles of extension services
  • Credentials and characteristics of agricultural communications students
  • How farmers decide to take part or not take part in commodity groups and other kinds of agricultural organizations
  • Resources to help agricultural scientists learn how to write for journals and other information outlets
  • Changes in agricultural journalism and how schools are revising programs to address those changes
  • Trends in agricultural coverage by general mass media

Not sure where to look? Check with us. Let us know ( whenever you can use help in identifying and gaining access to information about agricultural communications topics on which you are working.

Needs and potentials for new kinds of local market reports? 

What kinds of improvements in agricultural market reporting might be invited by trends such as (a) more product specialization, (b) more consumer interest in organic foods and (c) more efforts by producers to sell their products directly to consumers?

Should some local market reports be directed toward consumers?

Should new kinds of local farm products be featured, more price categories reported, new sources of price information tapped, new kinds of quality indicators used?

A thoughtful examination of disseminating market information took place during a 2001 international workshop on farm radio broadcasting.

Reference: On the “Database Search” page, use a title search (Marketing and rural finance) or author search (Shepherd) for the full citation. The presentation was posted on:

Four “key researchable issues” for communicators 

A new report has highlighted several high-priority needs for communications research on university-industry relationships that involve agricultural biotechnology. These issues, among others, emerged through an expert workshop sponsored by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology and the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • Have academic scientists allowed their work plans, research objectives or publications to be changed by industry funding?
  • How often are university scientists denied access to research materials or information?
  • Is there a decrease in the free exchange of knowledge and information, and if so, what force(s) are driving it?
  • Are publication delays due to intellectual property issues prevalent?

Reference: Use a subject search (University-industry relationships) for the full citation. A report of the proceedings was posted on:

Same data – different media takes. 

As we collect documents in ACDC we often are struck by differing ways in which media and organizations interpret and use research data. Here’s a recent example of headline and lead-in treatments that caught our eye. Both drew upon the same research report:

“Farmers say no to GM crops in survey. Australian farmers are yet to embrace genetically modified crops with a new survey finding overwhelming opposition to the new technology.” (Australian Associated Press) This treatment picked up on a finding that 74 percent of farmer respondents said they would not consider growing GM crops at this stage.

“Farmers ‘back’ GM crops: survey. A new national survey of farmers’ attitudes to genetically-modified crops has found the majority support the technology…” (Australian Broadcasting Corporation News) This treatment picked up on a finding that 58 percent said they would consider planting GM crops if their perceived problems were overcome.

“Agriculture and innovation” is the title of an interesting radio program started during 1999 in Tunisia.

“Usually it was researchers and technical advisors who passed on information and recommendations to farmers,” explained the authors of a journal article that we added recently to the ACDC collection. “Agricultural extension in Tunisia meant teaching and training farmers, not listening to and learning from them.”

This program invites farmers to describe their innovations on air. Listening farmers, researchers and others are invited to interact with the innovators, by call-in or letter. Listeners who respond receive prizes and each broadcast generates feedback from 20-30 listeners. A first-year review of the program showed that it is well accepted among listeners. Also, it is influencing the attitudes of researchers and development agents.

Reference: Use a title search (Local innovation) or author search (Nasr) for the full citation.

Four-part mission for rural lifelong learning.

Shiojiri City’s Agricultural Academy in Japan features an impressively broad vision of continuing education for agriculture in the 21st century. A report that we added recently to the ACDC collection cited the following motto for the Academy, which the city has operated since 1985:

  • Offer dreams to people on the farm (people formation)
  • Give a boost to the farming area (land formation)
  • Give power to the producing center (product formation)
  • Give unction to the regional community (hometown formation)

This report by Suzuki Fukumatsu described the development and progress of the Academy, including courses offered.

Reference: Use a title search (Lifelong education) or author search (Fukumatsu) for the full citation.

“Traditional media training simply cannot win debates with GMO advocates,”

Concluded a commentary by the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources. The commentary described an October 27 segment of the NBC-TV “Today” show featuring the controversy over genetically modified foods. It included interviews with a food scientist, a consumer, a biotechnology industry advocate and an anti-GMO author.

“Unfortunately, biotech failed to seize its moment of glory,” the commentary concluded. “Its representative reacted exactly the way the NGOs predicted and allowed the opposition to steal the trophy.”

Reference: Use a title search (Why biotech advocates lose) for the full citation. The commentary was posted

Professional activity approaching:

February 14-18, 2004
Agricultural Communications Section of Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On being a professional communicator. 

We end this issue of ACDC News with thoughts expressed 45 years ago by David Berlo, a respected communication scholar at Michigan State University. He wrestled with this matter in a thought-provoking presentation to educational communicators at a training session of the National Project in Agricultural Communication (NPAC).

“We can never be sure that we are responsible, that we are wise, that we speak the truth, that we analyze validly, that we conclude beneficially. All we can do is worry about it. All we can do is think about it, whenever we communicate. … [If the professional communicator] can be convinced that responsibility is his personal concern, that he must manipulate, but that he must strive to do this responsibly, if he is frustrated continually, and always faced with self-doubt, and self-criticism, we will come out all right.”

Reference: Use a title search (Philosophy of communication) or author search (Berlo) for the full citation

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:

December 2003

Updated on