ACDC News – Issue 05-08

Time to start pushing sugar.

“Sure, the U.S. population is getting fatter and fatter,” said a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . “Must be time to start pushing more sugar.”

The U.S. sugar industry is preparing a new advertising campaign to “tout the use of real sugar.” That is, sugar made from cane and beets, not high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar isn’t the enemy, said a representative of the Sugar Association. This campaign will attempt to position sugar as a natural, healthy product with 15 calories per teaspoon.

Reference: Sugar makers to fight back with new ads
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Roots of the U.S. sweet tooth.

Two hundred years ago sugar and confections were luxury items that signaled the economic power and privilege of males. So reported Wendy Woloson in Refined tastes: sugar, confectionery, and consumers in nineteenth-century America. Her 2002 book tracks changes during the nineteenth century as sweets entered all economic levels of the American consuming public.

Reference: Refined tastes: sugar, confectionery, and consumers in nineteenth century America

 Beef producers and industry on the firing line. 

The Harvard School of Public Health reported results of a U.S. adult survey, Mad Cow Survey, during early 2004. Here is how respondents answered the question, “Which one of the following do you think should be mainly responsible for preventing the spread of Mad Cow Disease in the U.S. ?”

Producers of the food that cattle eat – 33%
The federal government – 31%
The American beef industry – 29%
Don’t know – 7%

Most (51%) of those who said the federal government should be responsible identified the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the agency they think should be mainly responsible.

Reference: Mad cow survey
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Who’s covering local news? 

“Now there’s nobody out in the 3,000-plus counties in the United States covering local news the way they were,” observed a journalist cited in a Quill magazine article that we added recently to the ACDC collection.

The article focused mainly on the declining local coverage by radio stations, a decline that “most greatly affects its historic stronghold: small-town and rural America .” The article also called attention to similar pressures against local newspaper coverage. In earlier issues of ACDC News, we have identified reports about ways in which farm broadcasting, with its traditional emphasis on strong local coverage, is caught up in this tangle.

Reference: A shift of substance: changes in local media ownership have largely led to a decline in radio news

Sorting through organic views of nature.

It’s not so simple, argued Becky Mansfield in an analysis of the debate over organic certification of fish.

“It is not possible to simply talk about relations between nature and society,” she concluded in her Sociologia Ruralis article. She illustrated how individual classification schemes are always at work, and have particular effects. “Even with the particular classification scheme expressed within the fish debate, the organic movement simultaneously articulated a wide variety of often contradictory views of nature-society.”

Reference: Organic views of nature: the debate over organic certification for aquatic animals

Remarkable adoption history of hybrid corn.

At the beginning of the 1930s, hybrids were still unproven and largely unavailable to farmers, according to R.C. Pratt in a recent Maydicaarticle. However, by the end of the decade “over one-half of the Ohio corn acreage would be planted using double-cross hybrids.”

According to this Ohio (USA) case study, researchers at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station initiated pure-line selection and hybrid development in about 1919.

Reference: An historical examination of the development.

Growing clutter in organic terminology. 

We have added to the ACDC collection a Wall Street Journal article about “making sense of the latest organic food terminology.”

“Just when shoppers got familiar with the term ‘organic,’ a slew of alternative terms have started popping up,” said reporter Katy Mclaughlin. She cited examples of terms appearing on labels and menu descriptions at markets and restaurants: “Biodynamic.” “Local.” “Food Alliance Certified.” “Beyond organic.” The article referred interested readers to a Consumers Union website ( ) that provides definitions and assessments of some of the new terminology.

Reference: Is your tofu biodynamic?
Archived April 19, 2005, at

In memory of Everett Rogers.

Three obituaries that we have added to the ACDC collection recognize the contributions of Everett M. Rogers as a high-impact communications scholar with long-time rural interests.Farm-raised, he “began his education in a one-room schoolhouse and went on to earn his doctorate in 1957 from Iowa State University. Rogers ‘ 30 books – translated into 15 languages – and more than 500 articles shaped and influenced the field of communication, sociology, marketing, and political science. He is perhaps best known for his book, Diffusion of Innovations, the second most cited book in the social sciences…”The ACDC collection contains more than 100 documents that carry his name as author, dated as early as 1957. It also reflects many other aspects of his contributions, through his powerful influence on agriculture-related communications scholarship, internationally.References: UNM’s Everett Rogers was communications pioneer
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Distinguished communication professor influenced countless lives
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Communicator activities approaching

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.

May 31- June 4, 2005
“Ideas and missions/Ideas y misiones.” Joint conferences of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), National Extension Technology Conference (NETC), International Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), and ExtensionVideo Producers (EVP) in San Antonio, Texas USA.

June 4-7, 2005
“Mile high energy: reaching your communications peak.” 2005 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Denver, Colorado USA.

June 9-11, 2005
“Horse by Northwest.” 2005 Seminar of American Horse Publications (AHP) in Seattle, Washington USA.

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Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions, and ideas for ACDC. Feel free to invite our assistance 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

April, 2005

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