ACDC News – Issue 06-05

“We are what we eat. So why can’t we get our recommended daily intake of agricultural news?” 

Karen Lewis asked that question in an article in the Ryerson Review of Journalism. She described how daily newspapers in Canada have eroded the farm beat in attempting to deal with a “shifting pendulum of issues.”

“For the most part we are a well-fed nation, but most of us are malnourished when it comes to knowing our food,” Lewis observed. She reported hope, however, in potentials for repositioning the agriculture beat to include the consumer beat.

Title: The dying art of talking crop
Posted at:

Progress toward a high-speed always-on agricultural marketplace.

Conferees at InfoAg 2005 heard James Conner of Agristar Global Networks Ltd. describe the current state of the Internet, the adoption of broadband and the implications of this progress for agriculture and rural America.

Title: Broadband adoption and usage
Posted at:

Internet connections for the price of two old tin cans.

We have added to the ACDC collection a recent African Business article describing imaginative efforts to bring cheap Internet connections to rural Uganda. Professor Victor van Reijswoud of Uganda Martyrs University engaged the skills of a local blacksmith. The blacksmith connected tin cans and a small receiver to provide a point-to-point antenna with a 10 km range, all at a cost of less than $5.

“I am an appropriate technology expert,” van Reijswoud explained, “which means you make and repair tools within your own environment.”

Title: Internet connections for the price

Communicating the perils of eating trans fats.

A race is on to inform consumers about the new rule requiring companies to list the amount of trans fats on food labels.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rule became effective Jan. 1, 2006. The FDA says the fats increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fats often are found in snack and fried foods and baked goods.

Initial reaction to the rule has been mixed. The rule “allows people to identify what foods are most important to them, look at the cost to their health, then … decide what’s worth it and what’s not,” said a nutrition advisor. But a spokeswoman for Publix Super Markets in Florida said: “Even just reducing a product’s trans fat [content] might change its integrity. A cookie or a turnover still has to taste the way it’s meant to taste. That’s the obstacle.”

You can monitor related documents in the ACDC collection by using Subject search terms like “nutrition labeling” and “consumer information.”

Some sample documents:

“Questions and answers about trans fat nutrition labeling”

“FDA to allow temporary exemptions to trans fat labeling”

National Restaurant Association’s regulatory comments on trans fat labeling

Twelve new research reports about agricultural communications 

They were presented at a recent conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) in Orlando, Florida. Reports touched on teaching, listening, research and practice in communicating about a variety of agricultural topics. The titles:

  • “Environmental groups identify barriers to agriculture in adopting water quality BMPs [Best Management Practices].”
  • “A semiotic analysis of biotechnology and food safety photographs in TimeNewsweek and U.S. News & World Report.”
  • “Teaching students to write: a review of history, movements and methods.”
  • “Themes, authors and citations in the Journal of Applied Communications, 2000-2004.”
  • “Evaluating genetically modified food labels: a focus group study.”
  • “Podcasting agriculture news.”
  • “Understanding the U.S. public’s lack of knowledge about agricultural biotechnology and its implications for print media.”
  • “ ‘The stuff you need out here:’ a semiotic analysis of agricultural magazine advertisements.”
  • “Bridging borders: organizing short-term agricultural communication study abroad programs.”
  • “Cognitive and affective responses by Lubbock Chamber of Commerce affiliates to agricultural news.”
  • “Communication efforts of Florida extension agents during the 2004 hurricane season.”
  • “Local marketing and promotional efforts of Florida extension agents.”

You can view these papers online at:

Communicator activities approaching

March 23-25, 2006
Spring meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Information: Jeri Mattix Omernik of Rocky Mountain Marketing Communications at:

April 19-21, 2006
“Jazzed!” Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

May 8-11, 2006
“NETC 2006.” National Extension Technology Conference at Gainesville, Florida, USA.

May 14-17, 2006
“International teamwork in agricultural and extension education.” Conference of the Association for International Agricultural Education and Extension (AIAEE) in Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA.

May 21-26, 2006
“Managing agricultural information for sustainable food security and improved livelihoods in Africa.” Conference of the International Association for Agricultural Information Professionals (IAALD) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Oh, those ornery gremlins.

We end this issue of ACDC News with several examples of gremlins we have seen at work recently in agricultural writing and editing.

(Headline): “[ ] calls for hearings to look into lacks enforcement of Packers & Stockyards Act.”

(Expressing appreciation): “The authors thank [ ] for supporting this study while maintaining responsibility for any errors.”

(From a candidate for leadership of a farm organization): “I am a teem player, trust me.”

Best regards and good searching.

When you see interesting items you cannot find locally or online, get in touch with us at Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help 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

March, 2006


Updated on