ACDC News – Issue 05-20

Marketing into chaos 

Is the title of an article published recently in AgriMarketing magazine. It describes how “manufacturers and purveyors of animal identification technology and services are using collaboration and good old-fashioned competition to get the ball rolling.” Reports from several agri-marketers and communicators examined the complex issues involved in developing a national animal identification and tracking program in the interest of assuring safe food for consumers.

Reference: Marketing into chaos
Posted at:

Are farms and rural towns “decoupling?” 

We should not assume so – and it is not that simple – according to results of a recent case study in South Huron County, Ontario, Canada. In-depth interviews of farm and town residents revealed, for example:

  • Local farmers and town residents agreed on the main challenges confronting local farmers, but differed on the ranking of those challenges.
  • Town residents appeared knowledgeable about the nature of modern farming, but their knowledge was “shaped more by generalized secondary accounts … than by specific knowledge of local trends and issues.”
  • Town residents acknowledged that farm populations were in decline. However, they did not come to as bleak a conclusion as farmers with respect to the economic and social implications of the decline.
  • “It is in the farm community, and not in town, that we see the strongest beliefs about, and perceptions of, the decoupling of farm and town interests.”

Reference: Across the divide (?)

A feature on food detectives.

We have added to the ACDC collection an article in the Star-Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.) about one of the most vocal among interest groups that focus on safe food. It is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “one of the most reviled enemies of big food companies.” Reporter Thomas Lee interviewed Michael Jacobson, the executive director of CSPI, about the purpose, progress and approach of the organization. The article also included perspectives of the Center for Consumer Freedom, founded in 2001 by the food industry.

Reference: The group that came in from the fringe

Great need for cancer information in rural areas.

Studies in rural Kansas led researchers to report recently in the Journal of Health Communication: “There is a great need for widespread dissemination of cancer information resources in rural areas.” They called for information directed to two audiences in rural communities: physicians and rural residents.

Reference: Cancer information needs in rural areas
Summary and access information posted at:

Painted cows as walking billboards.

An unusual form of outdoor advertising came to our attention recently. According to a news report from Sarasota County, Florida, an online casino used “bovine billboards” dyed bright pink and purple. Representatives of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reportedly supported this advertising technique because one of the cow-signs said, “Go Veg.”

Reference: Cows painted pink, purple
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Beware of the Information Age. 

We continue to get requests for a 20-year-old journal article of that title by French editor Gérard Blanc. Writing in Development: Seeds of Change, he raised points that remain relevant for communicators. Among them:

•  “What we are witnessing is not a transition towards a postindustrial society … We are witnessing the industrialization of data, information, knowledge, even wisdom, in a process which tries to apply to this field of human activity the basic principles of industrial society: standardization, mass production, maximization of output, synchronization of activities, concentration, centralization, etc.”

•  “Information gives the illusion that mankind has conquered space and time. But it is only an illusion: remember that the map is not the territory. Computer and satellite networks give us only images of our neighbors thousands of miles away: we do not really see them, we do not feel them, we just contemplate synthetic reconstructions of a distant reality.”

•  “There is a recurrent discourse on ‘information democracy,’ the ‘new information order,’ etc. It is a trap which may flood developing countries under a heap of useless electronic garbage they will not be able to interpret and use effectively.”

Reference: Beware of the Information Age

Several new books that involve rural communications.

You may be interested in three 2005 books we have added recently:

Gary Krug, Communication, technology and cultural change. Includes a discussion about how rural U.S. families “learned the news” before they received rural free delivery of mail, beginning in 1896.

Aurora Wallace, Newspapers and the making of modern America. Includes a description of farm reporting by the Des Moines (Iowa) Register newspaper.

Darin Barney, Communication technology. A section about “digital divides” examines how Aboriginal residents of Canada suffer from unequal access to the Internet

Reference: Use title searches to see full citations, including content subjects.

Communicator activities approaching

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.

November 18, 2005
Deadline for submitting proposals for breakout or poster sessions at the 2006 International ACE meeting in Quebec City, Canada, June 2-6.

December 1, 2005
Deadline for graduate students to submit research papers for the 2006 International ACE meeting in Quebec City, Canada, June 2-6. Three categories: proposal, thesis, dissertation.

January 6, 2006
Deadline for submitting proposals for presentations, panel discussions, workshops or posters at the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in Gainesville, Florida, May 8-11.

Upper Midwest Scandinavian humor “alive and well.” 

Thanks to an alert reader who noted that the “Whatever happened to rural humor?” article we cited earlier this month missed the lively, earthy humor of Ole, Lena and Sven. It is “now circulating on the Internet.” Indeed. We close this issue of ACDC News with a sample about Ole as food communicator:

Ole had trouble putting “Happy Birthday” on a cake. His main problem was getting the cake in the typewriter

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Best regards and good searching.

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October, 2005

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