ACDC News – Issue 05-21

What consumers know, think and do about organic food these days. 

A recent article in the Journal of Extension shed light on that matter through results of a statewide survey among food shoppers in Oregon USA. Among the findings:

  • Seventy-seven percent reported buying organic food in the past six months.
  • About two-thirds gave positive word associations with “organic.”
  • Trust in the accuracy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label varied.

Reference: Consumer knowledge and perceptions about organic food
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Mixed reactions to the new food pyramid.

We have entered into the ACDC collection some articles about the new MyPyramid food guide introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year. The documents reveal reactions that range from “generally wide acclaim” to “a Tower of Babel.” On the “Database Search” page you can identify them through Subject searches, using terms such as “nutrition information” and “diets.” Here are a few samples:

“New food pyramid unveiled”
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“Food pyramid is supposed to look simple”
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“New food and nutrition guide hijacked by giant food companies ”
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“Online consumer buzz suggests mixed reactions and indifference to new USDA food pyramid”
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Tracing views held by stakeholders in the genetically modified crops (GMO) “debate.”

Among the many surveys that assess attitudes towards genetically modified crops and food, we find some special features in a recent report from South Africa. An article in Environmental Science and Policy described the findings of a perception survey among stakeholders involved in the GMO debate: academia, government, producer and consumer organizations, industry, nongovernmental organizations and churches. Of special note:

  • Findings about which stakeholders emphasize benefits, which emphasize risks.
  • A list of positive and negative statements used in the survey.
  • Indications of differing levels of trust in institutions.
  • A diagramed sociometric network of information exchange among stakeholders in the debate.

Reference: Stakeholder attitudes towards the risks and benefits
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Enhancing family connections.

Many patrons search the Center collection for current research and practice in agriculture-related communications. But recently the ACDC staff helped a user learn more about his family’s history.

The patron requested a 1910 article titled “How the Educator Cracker Idea Was Made Win,” published in Agricultural Advertising. T. N. Barbour, then treasurer of the Johnson Educator Food Co. in Boston, wrote the article. It chronicled the history of Educator Crackers and the company’s related advertising campaign.

Dr. William L. Johnson, who created the Educator Crackers, was the patron’s great-grandfather and Barbour was his grandfather. “This was a most enlightening article in terms of a unique piece of family history that is now scattered hither and yon,” the user said. We are pleased to help make such connections.

Reference: How the Educator Cracker idea was made win

A unique collection of agricultural periodicals. 

Staff Associate Jim Evans sends thanks to John Otte of Farm Progress Companies for recently alerting him to a new periodical, Quarterly Livestock Round-Up. Jim also thanks Laura Lahr, Livestock Marketing Information Center, for providing a copy of the premier issue.

“This is not John’s first contribution to my collection of Volume 1, Number 1 issues of agricultural periodicals,” says Jim. He explains that the collection emerged during his teaching years as a way to help students witness the dynamics of agricultural communicating.

“Along with John Harvey, I have enjoyed this effort for more than 20 years. He and I don’t even know how many premier issues we have between us.” They total in the hundreds and provide a unique perspective on agricultural publishing:

  • They show how different periodicals got launched and reveal the dreams of those who introduced them.
  • They represent some highly creative approaches to agricultural publishing.
  • Across the years, they documented some dramatic changes in the flow of agricultural information.

Seen any new ones? 

Please notify Jim ( when you see Volume 1, Number 1 issues of magazines, newspapers, newsletters or other types of periodicals (published anywhere, in print or electronic forms) that are directed to producers, agri-marketers, interest groups or others in the farm-to-fork complex. The periodicals can help preserve an important record of creativity and progress in agricultural publishing.

Ode to the rural letter carriers.

Critics feared that rural free delivery of mail would bankrupt the nation when it became a permanent service in the United States in 1902, according to a feature by Ramsey Campbell published in the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper. “Instead, rural delivery brought the country together. It forced a dramatic improvement in America’s roadways and brought the latest news and information to the countryside.”

The article described how rural free delivery began in the United States and examined the role and work of rural carriers today. “The strong bonds forged by rural carriers are in no danger of being severed.”

Reference: Rural letter carriers maintain tradition dating to Pony Express
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Communicator activities approaching

December 1, 2005
Deadline for graduate students to submit research papers for the 2006 International ACE meeting in Quebec City, Canada, June 2006. 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.

Creative new agri-terms from Lee Pitts.

We close this issue of ACDC News with some words that “really ought to be,” according to Lee Pitts, as quoted in Farm World:

  • Intaxicated: When a cowman celebrates for having to pay income taxes for the first time in 20 years.
  • Calfling: An animal that is caught in that uncomfortable stage between being an immature calf and a highly hormonal yearling. Kind of like a teenager.
  • Internot: An auction market that doesn’t broadcast its sale on the Internet.

Reference: Some words that really ought to be

When you see interesting items you cannot 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, Illinois 61801) or electronic form at


November, 2005

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