Are we communicating effectively?
That question got featured attention on June 13 when the Food Safety Network hosted its first food safety communicators’ conference. The event took place at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. An international cadre of presenters focused on:
- Consumers, society and risk analysis
- Current and emerging issues
- Lessons learned from crisis situations (three case reports)
- Where the information high is leading
- Using message and communication to promote change
- Food safety – who’s in control?
- Innovative approaches to food safety and agricultural communications
Summaries are available in proceedings that the Network announced recently.
Everett Rogers looks at a half-century of the diffusion model.
The name of this communications scholar probably is familiar to you – especially if you have become acquainted with research involving the diffusion and adoption of agricultural and other innovations. From the mid-1950s onward, he actively helped develop this broad stream of scholarship that has had international impact. Shortly before his passing, he shared a “prospective and retrospective look” at it in a Journal of Health Communication article we have added to the ACDC collection.
Managing a high-profile agricultural conflict.
A recent article in Public Relations Review examined conflict resolution processes, using media content analyses of four high-profile conflicts. One case involved conflict between the U. S. Department of Agriculture and African American farmers who alleged the USDA had discriminated against them.
Authors described the conflict as it played out in press coverage, summarized the resolution of it and offered perspectives on processes through which such conflicts are resolved.
Title: Going head to head
The costs to producers of not adopting Bt cotton.
An article in AgBioForum summarized the global impacts of Bt cotton adoption in the United States and China, based on results from a three-region model of the world cotton market. Findings prompted authors to conclude, “The results provide an indication of the costs of not adopting Bt cotton.” Reasons cited:
Bt cotton reduced insecticide use and per-pound production costs in both countries.
- Higher yields and production contributed to a 1.4-cent per pound reduction in the world price of cotton.
- Net global benefits were $836 million.
- China captured 71 percent of this benefit, the U. S. captured 21 percent and the rest of the world captured the remainder.
- Rest-of- the- world cotton purchasers benefited from lower cotton prices while returns to rest-of-the-world producers fell.
Teaching agricultural communications – without experience.
Agriscience teachers in Texas high schools raised concerns about this several years ago in a study examining the agricultural communications curriculum of that state. In a research report we added recently to the ACDC collection, authors reported:
“This study found that 67% of the teachers had little or no experience in the field of agricultural communications, but they agreed the competencies related to communication techniques and procedures should be incorporated in the agricultural communications curriculum. Agriscience teachers also indicated their perceived level of teaching skill pertaining to communication techniques and procedures ranged from fair to good.”
Reminiscences of an innovative agricultural communications educator.
We appreciate having received a new autobiography, “Rural Reminiscences,” by John H. Behrens, professor emeritus of agricultural communications, University of Illinois. The career section reveals his special creativity, leadership and service. Examples:
Creation of an instructional resources program for the College of Agriculture.
- Early use of new presentation technologies – overhead projectors, cassette tape recorders and closed loop motion picture projectors – and multi-media learning units that students used in individual study carrels.
- Early use for agriculture instruction of a technique called Telenet, through which one or several persons could address large groups over telephone lines from remote locations.
- Three-projector, multi-screen slide presentations for showing and comparing concepts.
- Development of a new course, Teaching College-Level Agriculture.
- Leadership in developing communications facilities and services for agriculture universities in India, West Indies, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Title: Rural reminiscences.
And welcome to a future agricultural communicator.
We extend a hearty welcome to Kelly Wagahoff, new student associate in the Center. She is a sophomore in the agricultural communications curriculum with a concentration in advertising.
Raised in a small rural town – Raymond, Illinois – Kelly became interested in agricultural communications through her love of people and the agricultural industry. She gained communications experience in high school through writing and photography for her school yearbook and through news writing for her FFA chapter. She hopes one day to work in agricultural sales and marketing communications.
“My experience in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center has been great so far,” she reports. “I feel it will help prepare me for my career because I have had the opportunity to look at and work with documents that will help me in the future. It will also be very beneficial once I start working with the online database because I will have a better understanding of formats and how to work with databases.”
Online auctions for farm products (more than 70 years ago).
We recently added to the ACDC collection a 1933 New York Times article that described plans for a new teletype network in the U.S., creating a daily nationwide auction of perishable farm products. This commercial enterprise, called Farmers Market System, was to be based in New York City.
“Descriptions of the products offered for sale by farmers would be flashed to all the market cities, where the buyers, gathered at the local headquarters of the organization, could immediately offer their bids, which in turn would be flashed to every other teletype centre. In this way definite markets would be assured for farmers before their produce has started its journey, and conditions of glut in certain sections of the country and scarcity in others would be avoided.”
Spinach takes a musical hit.
A musical video posted recently on YouTube suggests “The Spinach is Bad” and adds to the grief for spinach generated recently by E-coli problems in the U. S. According to the promotional brief, “deep in our brains we know it’s just not right to eat this vile little leaf.”
Title: The Spinach is Bad – music video
The video is posted at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLS5mKH5kks
Please get in touch with us when you see in this collection interesting items you cannot find, locally or online.
Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.
Best regards and good searching.
Please pass along your reactions, questions, 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 email@example.com