ACDC News – Issue 06-13

Pursuing a global view of agricultural communicating.

You might like to know that June proved to be a decidedly “international” month in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. ACDC staff members added documents that involve agriculture-related communicating in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

Pay-off from visual aids on avian flu.

A case report in The Lancet revealed interesting communication experiences of a public health veterinarian during the 2004 avian flu outbreak in Laos. While discussing this threat with veterinary officials and administrators of a provincial hospital, visiting veterinarian Clara J. Witt observed:

“People were very polite, but did not seem that interested until I showed them … pictures of affected chickens. This use of visual aids paid off. … Pictures allowed them to appreciate that H5N1 could, and did, affect them.”

Title: Experience of the spring 2004 avian influenza outbreak in Laos

Nervous about it.

Results of a national survey during late April among U.S. residents reflected signs of nervousness about avian flu. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed in an Associated Press poll by Ipsos Public Affairs considered it somewhat or very likely that bird flu will spread to birds in the United States in the next 12 months. Also:

•  One-third (34 percent) said they were somewhat or very concerned that they, or someone in their immediate family, might catch the bird flu.
•  More than half (53 percent) said they believed they were somewhat or very likely to die from bird flu if they got it.
•  More than one-half (52 percent) said they were not confident in the federal government’s ability to handle an outbreak of bird flu among humans in the United States.

Title: AP/Ipsos Poll: shaky confidence
Posted at:

Myths, principles and practices of health risk communicating. 

A concise, 26-page primer on health risk communication came out recently from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prepared by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the report features these major sections:

  • Role and importance of community involvement;
  • Overview of issues and guiding principles for health risk communication;
  • Presenting information at public meetings;
  • Working with the media; and
  • References.

Title: A primer on health risk communication
Posted at:

Research papers from the 2006 ACE conference.

We are pleased to help announce nine new agricultural communication research papers. They were presented at the international conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). Members of the Research Special Interest Group presented them June 2 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Check with the contact persons if you are interested in copies or details.

“Cognitive and affective response by Lubbock Chamber of Commerce affiliates to agricultural news.” Meredith Campbell, Chad S. Davis, Cindy Akers, David Doerfert and Steve Fraze, Texas Tech University. Contact:

“Golden rice: Promise or peril? The view from Philippine farmers.” Shalom Mula, Iowa State University. Contact:

“Initial exploration of the Texas print newspaper media’s utilization patterns of an agricultural media resource guide.” Jessica Hein, Cindy Akers, David L. Doerfert and Chad S. Davis, Texas Tech University.

“Organizational gatekeeper or peacekeeper: The agenda-building efforts of agricultural communication professionals.” Amanda M. Ruth, College of Charleston

“Are we listening? Assessing the potential of extension to utilize mass media to convey consumer-oriented home horticulture information to non-traditional audiences.” Tracy Irani, Courtney Meyers and Erin Eckhardt, University of Florida

“Agriculture and entertainment media: A qualitative study of the impact of entertainment media on perceptions of agriculture.” Lisa K. Lundy, Louisiana State University, and Amanda M. Ruth, College of Charleston. Contact:

“Application of the elaboration likelihood model to the design of genetically modified food labels.” Courtney A. Meyers, University of Florida, and Jefferson D. Miller, University of Arkansas.

“Building public trust: extension messages communicated during the 2004 Florida hurricane season.” Melissa Muegge, Ricky Telg, Tracy Irani, Mark Kistler and Nick Place, University of Florida.

“Framing in print: news coverage of three poultry meat recalls.” Sarah Heuer and Jefferson D. Miller, University of Arkansas.

Abstracts of these and six alternative research papers are posted at:

How rural children use ICT – a surprise for parents and teachers.

A study reported in the Journal of Rural Studies revealed some surprises about how rural children in a United Kingdom community use information and communication technologies (ICT). For example:

•  Adults (notably parents and teachers) involved in the study reflected an “adultist, macro and future oriented vision” of ICT for children. They envisioned ICT as having the potential to enable rural children to overcome their spatial isolation and “extend their knowledge terrain beyond the boundaries of the place where they live.”

•  However, researchers found that youngsters (ages 11-16) in the study used these technologies in more “everyday and mundane ways.” They enjoyed using the Web to access information about celebrities, sports and fashion. They used online forms of communicating to focus “on the nitty-gritty social relations and activities of everyday life.”

Title: A window on the wider world?

Grateful to the government market news reporters.

Rob Murphy of Informa Economics, Inc., expressed thanks early this year to public-supported market news reporters in the U.S. Department of Agriculture {USDA}. He applauded their efforts in covering livestock and meat markets and making data available to users. Speaking at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, Murphy described how private market analysts use such reports to help clients make short- and long-term decisions. He described specific applications such as price forecasting, benchmarking, volume analysis and demand analysis.

Title: How private market analysts use market news
Posted at:

Signs of need for better writing skills.

Findings reported recently in the Journal of Agricultural Education pointed to a substantial need for greater writing competencies among graduate students in agricultural education.

Researchers found that “93 percent of graduate students in this sample were unable to demonstrate complete proficiency in writing.” Sixty percent of the students had “inadequate” writing skills. Only 41 percent demonstrated “adequate writing ability.”

Title: Authenticated writing competencies of agricultural education graduate students

Lively ways of saying things.

Our review of documents for the ACDC collection exposes us to some lively ways of expressing ideas. Here is a recent example that caught our eye:

“…a toothless, truncated document, scattered with beautiful words.” Describing the outcome of an international meeting on plant genetic resources. See page 5 at

Please let us know when you see (or discover your own) creative, lively ways of saying things about agriculture, food, fiber, natural resources and rural matters in general.

Best regards and good searching.

Also, get in touch with us when you identify interesting items you cannot find, locally or online. Reach us at 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

July, 2006


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