ACDC News – Issue 04-10


On the lagging access to broadband in rural U.S.

Join your colleagues at the Agricultural Communications Summit, held in conjunction with the 2004 ACE International Meeting in Lake Tahoe, NV, on June 23 and 24. The summit will provide an opportunity for facilitated discussion and planning to position the profession for success in the preparation of tomorrow’s agricultural communicators. For more information, visit

Crop producers use more than a scientific framework

In deciding how to face severe plant disease outbreaks and economic stresses.

“It is clear that educators who assume that all farmers make decisions through a scientific mental causal mode are likely not correct in that assumption,” concluded the authors of a recent article in Agriculture and Human Values.

Minnesota producers who took part in this study also used institutional and spiritual frameworks to decide about diversifying their cropping systems. “Institutional” frameworks involved basing decisions more on personal experience or the experience of relatives and peers than on science. “Spiritual” frameworks involved, for example, considering crop rotations within the biblical context of letting the ground rest.

Reference: Use a title search (Farmer perspectives on cropping) or author search (Corselius) for the full citation.

Connecting with telecom in Africa

And without financial support from telecom companies, international development agencies or local authorities. A countrywide network of tele-based information centers (telecenters) in Ghana relies, instead, on a business model.

A recent case report in Telecommunications Policy described how these centers focus on the currently most profitable service – telephony. Many of the centers complement the revenue from the telecenters by combining several types of businesses, such as su-su (a type of informal banking service), renting of videocassettes, gift shops and restaurants. In a region poorly served by telecommunication services, telecenters are helping local communities gain access. The report described five kinds of impact on the communities involved.

Reference: Use a title search (Tele-centres as a way) or author search (Falch) for the full citation.

As information systems become more centralized.  

Nearly 25 years ago Daryl Hobbs, a rural development specialist, examined implications of increasingly centralized information systems (e.g., media, education). He observed, “When viewed in the context of increased centralization of decision making…a consequence is that people become better and better informed about matters over which they have less and less control.” As a corollary, he said, people increasingly lack information about local matters they can control.

“A few years ago in a small Iowa community, an attempt was being made to identify community problems through interviews with residents. One of the most frequently identified problems was that of drug abuse. Those in charge of the project were curious and began seeking information about the extent of drug abuse. They found that none of the local authorities could recall any cases. It then occurred to the project leaders that perhaps community residents were extrapolating to the local situation from frequent national TV public service announcements concerning drug abuse.”

Hobbs encouraged the use of community self-studies that involve local residents in all phases of doing the survey.

Reference: Use a title search (Community perspective) or author search (Hobbs) for the full citation.

Consumer attitudes toward COOL.  

Here are some of the documents we have added about results of recent U.S. consumer surveys regarding country-of-origin labeling of food:

Even one person out there – better than a thousand signs.  

The headline of an article in Birdscapes caught our eye: “Blue vest, a smile, and a small brown bird.” It turned out that the article described how a volunteer docent in a blue vest and straw hat was helping protect a tiny endangered bird, the western snowy plover, on California’s central coast. Docents learned outreach techniques to help them inform beach goers of the importance of staying clear of the birds’ nesting area in the dunes.

“I was amazed at the positive response we got from the public,” said the Wildlife Refuge manager on site. “Even one person out there, greeting the people, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns, is better than a thousand signs.”

Reference: Use a title search (Blue vest) or author search (Stockton) for the full citation. The article was posted on

Compelled to tell farmers what they should do  

“The important issue is that some agricultural scientists feel compelled to tell farmers what they should do,” observed Andrew Hall and Silim Nahdy in an analysis of efforts in Uganda to strengthen agricultural research. They found disappointing results in national efforts to involve farmers in research projects. Four problem areas appeared:

  • Researcher/farmer power relationships
  • The professional identity of scientists
  • The skill base and available human resources
  • Perceptions concerning the validity of research methods (e.g., on-farm trials)

Authors noted “the tendency of institutionalized science to perpetuate these problems” that are not unique to Uganda.

Reference: Use a title search (New methods and old institutions) or author search (Hall) for the full citation.

How to build trust.  

We close this issue of ACDC News with a comment by George Gaskell during a recent presentation on risk perception and genetically modified foods. He expressed the thought at an international conference organized by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

“…trust…is not built by working on the other – it has to be earned by working on oneself.”

Communicator activities approaching:

June 12-15, 2004
“Run for the Gold.” 2004 Institute of Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Louisville, Kentucky USA.

June 20-24, 2004
“ACE’s High in Nevada.” 2004 International Meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) at Lake Tahoe, Nevada USA.

July 25-28, 2004
“Spring Break This Summer.” Agricultural Publication Summit involves members of the Livestock Publications Council (LPC), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), American Business Media – Agri-Council (ABM), Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and National Agricultural Communicators Of Tomorrow (ACT). Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Best regards and good searching.  

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions 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:

May 2004

Updated on