ACDC News – Issue 05-18

Personalities that help farmers cope.

Five personality styles emerged as prominent in a study among landholders who were undergoing extended economic hardship in central western Queensland, Australia. These farmers tended to be vigilant, conscientious, solitary, serious and sensitive.

The findings raised a caution flag for communicators and educators. Authors reported that these five personality styles have a feature in common: the group situation poses problems and creates stress for them. “Current government policy has favoured groups as the preferred method of learning, and yet our findings indicate their preference for a one-to-one style approach.”

Reference: The influence of personality. 
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How agricultural scientists view the media.

A 2005 article in Science Communication examined relationships between agricultural scientists and the news media. Here are a few of the results from a Web-based survey:

  • These agricultural scientists expressed neutral to negative perceptions of all news media and national news media.
  • They were more positive about local than national coverage of agricultural news.
  • Male and female agricultural scientists responded differently about their media relations skills, their interest in media training and their methods for communicating crisis situations to the news media.
  • Fewer than half had received media relations training.
  • They expressed most interest in learning about crisis-related communications and writing newspaper columns.

Reference: Trying to relate. 

Presentations from the 2005 IFAJ Congress.

Thanks to planners who have posted speeches presented at the recent Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Thun, Switzerland. Here are some presentations that focused most directly on agricultural journalism:

“Welcome” by David Markey, president of IFAJ.
Reference: Speech by David Markey. 
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Claudia Wirz, Of farmers and journalists.
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Ruedi Hagmann, “The Swiss agricultural press is changing.”
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Markus Rediger, “Communication between farmers and the public.”
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Grassroots media – the oxygen of democracy.

This title caught our eye in a 1983 article we entered recently into the ACDC collection. It spoke to the challenges facing rural newspapers and other village media in India.

Grassroots media “provide awareness to the people about their environment, stimulate understanding of their problems and identify opportunities available to them for a better life. They also guide them in formulating programmes to solve their problems and fulfill their needs, goals and aspirations.”E-mail, Web sites, cell phones, microbroadcasting and other new means of communicating might redefine “grassroots media” a bit, compared with 20-plus years ago. However, reminders about the unique importance of local interactions – in all their forms – seem enduringly and increasingly important, across time and place.

Reference: Grassroots media.

Questions coming our way.

You may be interested in the kinds of special information requests we are receiving at the Center these days. Here are some examples:

  • Distribution, use and effectiveness of agricultural news releases
  • Readership of e-mail newsletters
  • Ethics in agricultural publishing
  • Safety campaigns related to electric energy
  • Gender roles and relationships on farms
  • Interactions between activists and food companies
  • History of Agri-Marketing magazine
  • Electronic communications for adult learning
  • Effective use of member publications in agricultural organizations
  • Readership, focus, content and design of publications in colleges of agriculture
  • Education needs of future agricultural writers

Teachers and students:

Do you need ideas for research projects, class reports or other activities that involve agriculture-related communications? We will be pleased to help you search the ACDC database or otherwise scout for current, historical or future-oriented topics that interest you.

Just get in touch with us at: We can work by e-mail or phone. Or let us know if you would like for us to take part in class sessions (e.g., by teleconference) about the ACDC collection and how you can explore it.

Communicator activities approaching

October 22-26, 2005
Joint meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA.

November 8-9, 2005
“Customer-focused marketing.” Agribusiness Forum of the National Agri-Marketing
Association in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

November 9-11, 2005
“NAFB and Farm Broadcasting – Positioned for the Future.” Annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Advice on hair care.

We close this issue of ACDC News with a piece of advice about personal care from a Canadian agricultural periodical. Readers of the British American Cultivator (Upper Canada, 1842-1847) were told:

“To prevent the Hair following off, wash the head once a day with good old Jamaican rum.”

If you decide to try the technique, please keep us posted on your results.

Reference: The agricultural periodicals of Upper Canada.

When you see interesting items you can’t find online or locally

Get in touch with us at Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

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 communication 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

September, 2005

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