ACDC News – Issue 05-19

What online users want in a Web site. 

A marketing team at Kansas State University Research and Extension used feedback from 12 selected publics in Sedgwick County to help address the issue. Those publics ranged from producers and youth to school personnel and media representatives. Findings varied among publics, but quantitative findings suggested that users were most likely to use the Web:

  • For personal or business use more than for entertainment or buying products.
  • For research information, details about upcoming events, or addresses or phone numbers.
  • For video files, online newsletters or discussion boards about topics of interest.

Researchers concluded that users prefer (a) functionality over visual appeal, (b) simplicity, and (c) easy access/navigation to information users want.

Reference: Audience analysis of potential Web users 
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Do the sentiments of market advisors influence commodity prices? 

In a recent master’s degree project, Michael Matwichuk used model estimates to analyze relationships between the prices of six commodities and the recommendations of market advisory services.
Among his findings:

  • Recommendations were strongly influenced by recent returns of market participants. He found a significant causal relationship “when returns are presumed to precede investor sentiment [expressed in recommendations], but not vice versa.”
  • Price predictability was evidenced in the live cattle market.
  • “Statistical evidence that the commodity markets are predictable over the long-horizon framework might be unreliable.”

Reference: Market advisory service sentiment indicators

Transforming agricultural knowledge into a product for sale.

We have added to the ACDC collection dozens of articles about extension services during what has been described as the “current ideological transition toward global capitalism.” William M. Rivera is among those who have provided thoughtful analyses about the changing nature of agricultural information and the forces that are shaping extension. You may be interested in an article he wrote for the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (live link below). He examined these changes and forces, and identified some potential roles for public and private extension services internationally.

Reference: The changing nature of agricultural information
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Public positive about the food enterprise. 

Food sectors held three of the top four rankings in a recent Gallup Organization survey to learn how Americans view 25 business/industry sectors. Here are the sectors that ranked highest, in terms of net positive responses:
  • Restaurant 50 percent
  • Computer 47 percent
  • Farming/agriculture 45 percent
  • Grocery 43 percent

What sectors do you think ranked lowest?

Reference: New Gallup survey finds
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Whatever happened to rural humor? 

Fred Whitehead raised that question last year in a commentary we found in the Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyoming).

“When I was growing up in western Kansas, I became aware, by way of reading Mark Twain, that one of our great gifts to the world was rural American humor,” Whitehead wrote.

He cited examples of comic exaggeration, boasting and pretense-squashing that illustrate how rural pioneers used humor to cope with their fears, failures and insecurities. He questioned whether today’s mass media, corporate culture and reliance on government support are eroding “our lively old democratic pleasure of storytelling.”

All cultures have lively heritages of rural humor. Let us know whenever you see discussions about this important subject in articles, books or other forms.

Reference: Whatever happened to rural humor?
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Communicator activities approaching

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

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

November 9-11, 2005
“NAFB and farm broadcasting – positioned for the future.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

An “Editor’s Creed” (50 years old, but still frisky). 

We close this issue with some ever timely advice to writers. It came from the editor of the Bulletin, published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. We found it in the March 1955 issue of AAACE, the journal of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors.

If you’ve got a thought that’s happy –
Boil it down.
Make it short and crisp, and snappy –
Boil it down.
When your brain its coin has minted,
Down the page your pen has sprinted,
If you want your effort printed –
Boil it down.

Take out every surplus letter –
Boil it down.
Fewer syllables the better –
Boil it down.
Make your meaning plain – express it,
So we’ll know – not merely guess it,
Then, my friend, ere you address it,
Boil it down.

Skim it well, then skim the skimmings –
Boil it down.
Trim it, then retrim the trimmings –
Boil it down.
When you’re sure ‘twould be a sin – to
Cut another sentence in two
Send it in, and we’ll begin to –
Boil it down.

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 assistance 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

October, 2005

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