ACDC News – Issue 04-17


Traveling the rocky (gendered) road of rural cooperatives. 

Pressures toward consolidation and squeezed profit margins are challenging farmers to retain the democratic roots of cooperatives, according to a recent article in the Journal of Applied Communication Research. Author L.M. Harter studied organizational communications in the Nebraska Cooperative Council, a support organization for more than 100 cooperatives. The Council provided “a particularly rich context in which to explore traditionally feminine ways of organizing (i.e., cooperative enactment) in a historically male-dominated arena (i.e., agriculture).” Findings explored “intersections between the social construction of masculinity(s), the agrarian frontier myth, and tensions embedded in the discourse of cooperative organizing.”

Reference:Masculinity(s), the agrarian frontier myth, and cooperative ways of organizing: contraditions and tensions in the experience and enactment of democracy
By: Harter, Lynn M.
Published: May 2004

Students produce a weekly Webzine for a rural county.

Dateline Pickens is a lively learning laboratory for – and valued service by – journalism students at the University of Alabama. It features what journalism professor Bailey Thomson describes as “service journalism,” focusing on local aspects of issues such as health care, job creation, education and the environment.

“His goal is to bring good journalism to a county that often is overlooked by the state’s media,” according to a news report that we added to the ACDC collection. The site has been up nearly two years and draws good readership as it helps students learn real world journalism “in a place that has good stories to tell if only someone will take the time to report them.”
The news report was posted on:

Farm newspapers – voice of the farmers?

You cannot assume so, according to a recent article by John J. Fry in Agricultural History. The article examined four Midwestern farm newspapers between 1885 and 1920. The author concluded, “Farm newspapers are better seen not as expressing the ideas of farmers, but providing a forum for reformers and farmers to debate proposed changes to country life.”

School consolidation provided an example of this role, according to Fry. Farm papers promoted consolidation, in line with Country Life Movement arguments that consolidated schools would improve rural education. Farm readers “chose to listen to some of the recommendations of progressive reformers and not to others.”

Reference: Good farming – clear thinking – right living
By: Fry, John J.
Published: 2004

The doctoral dissertation upon which this article was based has been posted online at the following URL:
Reading, reform, and rural change : the midwestern farm press, 1895 to 1920
By: Fry, John J.
Published: May 2002

Horrendous food PR crisis.

They’re nothing new, according to case analyses by Lael M. Moynihan. The author described what two food marketers did when “the unthinkable happened” more than two decades ago:

” Some consumers around Detroit, Michigan, reported they had found razor blades in Ball Park Franks, a popular meat product marketed by Hygrade. October 1983.
One Belgian man died and a Connecticut woman became seriously ill as a result of botulism attributed to canned salmon. February and April 1982.”

Reference: Horrendous PR crises: what they did when the unthinkable happened
Moynihan, Lael M. (Media History Digest 8(1) : 19-25).

Welcome to John Sanders, new graduate assistant in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center.

John’s appointment began August 16. A master’s candidate in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, he brings to the Center an academic background (bachelor and master levels) in urban and regional planning. His research experience includes an international comparative study of rural communities and an innovative comprehensive plan for rural development land-use ordinance and regulation. So in addition to his core responsibilities in the Center, he will contribute in special ways to the parts of our collection that address the communications aspects of rural community development. More than 10 years of experience in retail marketing also will help John serve the Center in unique ways.

Still roaming off the beaten paths.

As you know, we regularly monitor journals known to contain literature about the communications aspects of agriculture, food and related fields. But we continue to find pleasure (and good materials) off the beaten paths. For example, here are a few recent sources:

  • Journal of the West
  • Social Problems
  • People’s Daily
  • Media Ethics
  • Philosophy and Social Action
  • Media History Digest
  • Slovak Spectator
  • Media International Australia

If you are curious about the kinds of materials we find in such journals, use the “Database Search” page to conduct “Journal” searches, by title. You will see citations of the documents we have entered from each journal.

Face-to-face meetings – gone by the wayside? 

No way, reported Den Gardner in a recent issue of Agri Marketing. In fact, he quoted the communications manager of Case IH as saying in reference to the farm equipment firm’s recent award winning event for media: “Face-to-face communications are more important than ever because we use this method less and less.”

“The point is that companies need to stay engaged with their customers,” Gardner observed. “And you can’t do it by phone, e-mail and voicemail all the time. … You can’t do that with online teleconferences, Web-casting, and other techno-gizmos being promoted today as the way to do business.”

Reference: Face-to-face meetings – gone by the wayside?
By: Gardner, Den
Published: Jun 2004.

“Spent all my money getting here
And now I can’t get away.” 

These words by Jack Bryant in his song, “Sunny Cal,” captured part of the hardship, disappointment and homesickness of farm families that migrated to California during the Great Depression. We recently added to the ACDC collection a brief report from the U.S. Library of Congress about the perceptions and experiences of migrant workers between 1929 and the early 1940s. This summary included web links to reports, popular songs and other sources of information.

Reference: The Migrant Experience
By: Fanslow, Robin A.
Published: Apr 6 1998

The report was posted online at:
Note: At the time of publication the above URL was not in service.

Communicator activities approaching

September 30, 2004
Deadline for submission of abstracts for papers and other presentations at the U.S. Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) Biennial Conference and International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) XI World Congress on May 15-21, 2005, in Lexington, Kentucky USA.

October 1, 2004
Deadline for submission of research and professional papers to be considered for presentation in the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference during February, 2005, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

October 17-20, 2004
Annual convention of Communication Officers of State Departments of Agriculture (COSDA) in Nashville, Tennessee USA.

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:

September, 2004

Updated on