ACDC News – Issue 06-10

Making connections when animal disease crises hit. 

A recent exercise simulating an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Ontario, Canada, revealed “a lot of tactical issues to address.” According to a news report we have added to the ACDC collection, this fictitious outbreak took place in real time between December 11 and 14. It began at a dairy farm, then spread to veal operations located elsewhere. Results suggested:

  • Producer groups knew their members and could communicate with them effectively.
  • However, “non supply-managed groups do not have organizations which represent all members of their industry and have little legislated authority in a crisis.”

A call for coordinated communications was among the recommendations offered.

Title: Are our farms ready for major outbreak?
Posted at:

“Good communication is as important as good science.” 

That perspective came from a public health practice work group of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. A 19-page report offered specific strategies for risk communicating. The strategies involved hazards of pesticide misapplications and seem appropriate, as well, for other kinds of risk to human health and well-being.

Title: Health education and risk communication strategies
Posted at:

Welcome to development journalists in Nepal. 

We are pleased to send issues of ACDC News to members of the Forum of Development Journalists (FODEJ), a network of development journalists in Nepal. These journalists from print and broadcast media formed about four years ago, according to President Arjun Bhattarai.

“We feel serious need for one strong and registered alliance for development and investigation reporting to uplift Nepali people towards poverty alleviation. … We believe media can play a strategic role. …”

ACDC has a substantial body of information about journalism and communications, as related to agricultural and rural development. We look forward to helping support the efforts of FODEJ.

Related title: Development journalism greater priority needed

Americans worried most about water pollution. 

When it comes to environmental issues facing the United States in 2006, Americans express the greatest concern about issues related to water pollution. A Gallup Poll conducted during mid-March revealed that a majority said they worry a great deal about pollution of drinking water (54 percent), contamination of soil and water by toxic waste (52 percent), and pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs (51 percent). These concerns obviously hold implications for farmers, ranchers and others in the food complex.

Title: Water pollution tops environmental concerns
Available online to Gallup Poll on Demand subscribers at:

Connecting Japanese food producers and consumers through civic journalism. 

Writing in Japan Media Review, Kate Parry said her visit to Japan revealed “extraordinary examples of civic journalism already under way in Japan.” This style of journalism involves media both in covering news and encouraging civic engagement.

Agriculture-related civic journalism appeared among the examples Parry cited. Investigation by a newspaper, The Kahoku Shimpo, revealed widespread use of unregistered chemicals, even on “organic” farms. The paper established an online “Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Research Lab” as a virtual think tank to tackle the problem in a way that included the voices of producers and consumers.

“The idea of connecting producers and consumers through civic journalism has become a standard approach to agriculture coverage in the Tohoku farming region.”

Title: Civic journalism gains momentum
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Why cities care about the future of rural governance.

James Hunt, president of the National League of Cities, offered reasons such as these during the 2006 Agricultural Outlook Forum sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • There is no longer a homogeneous definition of rural.
  • There are many new faces in rural America. Seven out of 10 rural counties are dominated by manufacturing, health care, education, retail or other employment not related to farming.
  • In the new economy, many different types of governing bodies oversee needs in rural communities.

“To truly be the new face of Rural America, we must set turf battles aside,” Hunt urged, “and create new ways of reaching decisions that allow all the various leaders to make decisions quickly and efficiently for the sake of their communities.”

Title: Why cities care about the future of rural governance
Posted at:

Communicator activities approaching

June 13, 2006
“Getting the word out. Are we communicating effectively?” A food safety communicators conference hosted by the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

June 17-20, 2006
“Brewing success.” 2006 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Portland, Oregon.

June 19-23, 2006
“Networking communication research.” Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Dresden, Germany.

July 17-18, 2006
“Ready, Set, Plan.” Crisis response workshop in Kansas City, Missouri. For organization administrators, communicators and others interested in executing functional risk and crisis responses. Sponsored by USDA-CSREES, Extension Disaster Education Network, K-State Research and Extension, and National Center of Food Protection and Defense.

August 12-16, 2006
“Feed your senses.” Fiftieth anniversary Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Hamar, Norway.

Do corn plants cry for help? 

Talking plants have seldom fit our mental image of agricultural communicating. However, we have added to the ACDC collection an ear-opening example. Researchers at the Max Planck Society in Germany have “identified a gene which produces a chemical ‘cry for help’ that attracts beneficial insects to damaged plants.” It seems corn plants, when attacked by certain pests, emit a “cocktail of scents” to attract parasitic wasps that lay eggs on the pests. Offspring of the wasps then feed on the caterpillars and relieve the corn plants.

Title: Corn cries for help when attacked
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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 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

June, 2006


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