ACDC News – Issue 05-05

The blog world – coming to agriculture. 

Evidence is apparent in recent documents about agriculture-related potentials for an emerging communications tool, the Web log. Blogs may have roots as publicly accessible personal online journals. However, we are adding reports of other uses. Examples:

  • Blair L. Fannin and Edith A. Chenault, “Blogging agricultural news: a new technology to distribute news real-time.” Describes an experimental use in covering the 2004 Beef Cattle Short Course at Texas A&M University.

Posted @

  • Chuck Zimmerman, “Blogging: coming to your computer now!” Zimmerman, of ZimmComm, Holts Summit, Missouri, describes in an Agri Marketing article how agri-firms and groups are using blogs to announce and cover meetings and conferences, create and distribute news releases, offer perspectives, invite feedback and serve other functions. The ZimmComm site, “Talking News Releases,” includes audio, photos and video as well as text.

Posted @

Viewing other ag-related blogs.

The web site, Globe of Weblogs, identifies hundreds of blogs that relate, for example, to activism in animal rights, conservation, food safety, genetic engineering, sustainable agriculture and sustainable development. These blogs, based in many countries, tend to be highly personal in approach and content.

The blog of the Center for Rural Affairs illustrates uses by an agricultural organization. Posted

 New research reports from SAAS communications scholars.

The report from Blair Fannin and Edith Chenault (above) is one of nine papers presented February 5-9 at the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Others presented to the Agricultural Communications Section:

  • “Evaluating the effectiveness of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Hueco Tanks State Historic Site orientation/conservation video: a media system dependency theory perspective.” Cindy Akers, David Segrest Jr., Mark Kistler, James Smith, Chad Davis and Matt Baker, Texas Tech University.
  • “Assessing agricultural communications students’ learning styles.” Dwayne Cartmell II, Melissa Majors, Marcus Ashlock and Shelly Sitton, Oklahoma State University.
  • “Cognitive responses by West Texas Hispanic/Latinos to agricultural news: a comparison of four English and Spanish presentation media.” Chad Davis, Cindy Akers, Marvin Cepica, David Doerfert, Steve Fraze and David Lawver, Texas Tech University.
  • “Syndicating agriculture news with RSS.” Blair Fannin, Texas A&M University.
  • “It takes two: public understanding of agricultural science and agricultural scientists.” Lisa Lundy, Louisiana State University, and Amanda Ruth, Ricky Telg and Tracy Irani, University of Florida.
  • “Perceptions of job satisfaction and gender roles among select Florida agricultural communication practitioners.” Rebecca McGovney and Tracy Irani, University of Florida.
  • “Distance education in the agricultural communications realm: a synthesis of research.” Emily Rhoades, University of Florida.
  • “Communication preferences of politically active agricultural leaders.” Ricky Telg, University of Florida.

The papers are posted @

We also are entering them into the ACDC search system and collection.

“It’s time for a colossal mind shift in the local agricultural community,”

According to an executive cited in a Guelph Mercury ( Canada) article we added recently.

“We have to change this thought process in that all we are doing was feeding people,” argued Gord Surgeoner, president of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies. “Now, we’ve gone ahead and met that challenge. Now, we can look at reducing pollution, building car parts and improving health care. We have this whole new world where the basic building blocks come from plant oils and plant starches.”

Reference: Cutting a new path in farming

Posted February 1, 2005 at Food Safety Network

Nonverbal ways of communicating with nature.

In a recent book chapter, Michelle Scollo Sawyer proposed that “across cultures there is a set of related, largely nonverbal forms of communication that people use to connect with the natural world.” Examination of several cases led her to identify five dimensions that could be added to the usual framework for analyzing communication:

  • Level of activity (stillness-movement)
  • Pace (slow-fast)
  • Sound level (silence-noise)
  • Verbal activity (nonverbal-verbal)
  • Quantity of verbal activity (small-great)

Reference: Nonverbal ways of communicating with nature

Do viewers and readers respond differently to environment news?

Findings reported in Society and Natural Resources suggest that newspaper content about the environment may generate audience reactions different from those generated by television content.

“…those most exposed to the world as presented on television have potentially higher concern … and less tendency toward action … than those who have had less exposure. On the other hand, newspaper exposure was associated with lower concern but more action.”

Reference: Skepticism about media effects concerning the environment

Preserving the embrittled. 

A newly added journal article highlights a national effort to identify and preserve agricultural literature that would otherwise be lost to decay. Twenty-three states are taking part, each identifying relevant state and local literature published between 1820 and 1945. Seminal works are then microfilmed and stored to preservation standards that provide a minimum life of 500 years. The U.S. Agricultural Information Network and National Agricultural Library, USDA, developed this program supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We would note that agricultural journalists and communicators helped create and publish much of this important literature during the 125 years.

Reference: The national preservation program for agricultural literature

Communicator activities approaching

April 4-5, 2005
“Beyond the mechanics: agriculture at the crossroads.” Southern RegionWorkshop of Cooperative Communicators Association in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

April 20-22, 2005
“Blazin’ horizons.” 2005 Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show of National Agri-Marketing Association in Phoenix, Arizona USA.

May 15-21, 2005
“Globalization of information: agriculture at the crossroads.” Eleventh World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists and biennial conference of the U.S. Agricultural Information Network in Lexington, Kentucky USA.

A secret to success in life

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought from Mark Twain, as quoted in Panic in the Pantry:“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

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 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 )

March, 2005

Updated on