ACDC News – Issue 04-22


Establish a CIO position.

“The working relationship between the chief executive officer (CEO) and the chief information officer (CIO)…is critical to successfully leveraging information technology in the grocery industry.”

Consultant Thomas Murphy recently urged readers of the Food Marketing Institute magazine, Advantage, to establish a CIO position, fill it with a good leader and support it as a change agent for improving business. “The combination of rigorous process improvement enabled by select technologies holds the key to success for many grocers.”

Might the same be said for other parts of the food chain, from producers onward?

ACDC Reference: The executive view: perspectives on technology for the business executive 
Author: Murphy, Thomas

Generic commodity promotion. Socially beneficial?

Yes, according to an economic analysis reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“A strong case is developed for the social benefit of advertising regardless of one’s view of what advertising is.” This finding is in marked contrast to some other results in a lively, continuing debate about the value of generic promotion of agricultural products and the constitutionality of commodity promotion programs.

ACDC Reference: Agricultural market structure, generic advertising, and welfare
Authors: Cardon, James H. and Pope, Rulon D.

New resources from ERIC.

Free full-text non-journal resources of the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) recently became available for the first time. They include more than 105,000 documents authorized for electronic distribution during 1993-July 2004 and previously sold through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

Also, September 1 marked the introduction of a new ERIC web site that provides users with increased search capabilities.

ERIC is a rich resource of information about school-based agricultural education. To avoid duplication of effort, we do not include such documents in the ACDC collection. However, we monitor ERIC to help you locate information about extension communications and other non-formal types of education related to agriculture.


Narrowing gap in rural U.S. Internet access.

The gap between Internet access of rural and urban areas of the U.S. decreased to about one percentage point between late 1998 and late 2001. So reported authors of a 2004 Telecommunications Policy article about wireless diffusion, mobile computing and the digital divide.

“The traditional groups of technology ‘have-nots,’ including females, rural areas, and minority groups, have made dramatic gains in Internet access,” authors reported. They found mobile telephone adoption positively correlated with income, size of metropolitan area and occupation (specifically sales and executive professions).

Reference: Wireless diffusion and mobile computing: implications for the digital divide
Authors: Wareham, Jonathan; Levy, Armando; and Shi, Wei
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“Environmental stories define problems, not solutions.”

That title of a report in the Newspaper Research Journal summarized results of a content analysis of 841 stories in 69 U.S. daily newspapers. Researchers found that 73 percent of the news leads defined the reported issue as a problem.

They concluded, “The fact that the press defines problems primarily in terms of conflict and losses instead of solutions suggests that readers are not being provided with adequate information about possible solutions to environmental problems.”

Reference: Environmental stories define problems
Authors: Major, Ann M. and Atwood, L. Erwin

The conflict language of journalists.

“Language choices by journalists and stakeholders reflected an entrenched view of the debate as a conflict,” reported a recent study about the discourse of the GM food debate. This finding is among many in a 2004 study reported by the Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom. It included analyses of articles published by four British newspapers and interviews with representatives of stakeholder organizations. Other findings came from focus group research among UK residents with interests such as health and nutrition, biodiversity and ethics/morality.

The project “is distinctive in its attention to the language as well as the content of the GM debate.”

Reference: The discourse of the GM food debate
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Americans are still relatively uninformed 

About genetically modified foods and the application of genetic engineering technology to agriculture. And their level of knowledge has not increased during the past three years. These insights emerged from the September 2004 survey among U.S. consumers by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. Among other findings:

  • They have “heard little about genetically modified foods, and as such, have yet to roundly accept or intensely oppose them.
  • They support a strong regulatory system, although they do not know much about the current system.
  • Most support the labeling of GM food (92%) and GM ingredients in processed foods (91%).
  • They remain most comfortable with the genetic modification of plants.
  • They are most supportive of uses they feel will directly help them and their families.

Reference: Overview of findings: 2004 focus groups and poll
Author: Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology
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Communicator activities approaching

February 1, 2005
Deadline for electronic submissions of research papers to be presented at the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), San Antonio, Texas, May 31-June 4, 2005.
Information by e-mail:

February 5-9, 2005
Agricultural Communication Section, annual meeting of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS), Little Rock, Arkansas.

Latest word on giant beanstalks.

Check this new twist to the popular tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. We feature here the winning entry in the “Children’s Literature” category of the 2004 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest run by the English Department of San Jose State University. As mentioned in the previous issue of ACDC News, this contest honors writers who excel in writing only the first line of a bad novel. Frances Grimble entered the following winner:”Jack planted the magic beans and in one night a giant beanstalk grew all the way from the earth up to the clouds-which sounds like a lie, but it can be done with genetic engineering, and although a few people are against eating gene-engineered foods like those beans it’s a high-paying career to think about for when you grow up.”


As this remarkable year ends

All of us here at the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center extend season’s greetings and best wishes for your year ahead. Thanks for your interest, encouragement and helpfulness.

Best wishes 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 we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S.  Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or electronic form (at )

December, 2004


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