ACDC News – Issue 07-05

What’s a combine?

Listeners to the winning entry in the 2006 New Holland Oscars in Agriculture award program heard that question stump a group of urban students. Marlin Bohling of the Southern Farm Network got a wide range of answers to it – and several other farm-related questions – from students he interviewed in an urban North Carolina high school.

Bohling reminded his radio listeners that in the future young persons such as these may be making public policy about food and agriculture.  His brief feature demonstrated lots of need and opportunity for increased public understanding.

A recent issue of eChats from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting provides a live link to this award-winning feature at:

Information wants to be free.

In a 2005 issue of the Glocal Times, a Swedish university librarian advanced a vigorous argument for open access to information on the Internet.

“The thought that information wants to be free is a serious one, grounded in great ethical and epistemological positions,” said Linda Karlsson of Malmö University, “and it has obvious implications in the areas of communication and development.”

Karlsson addressed two dimensions of a widening digital divide:  (1) initial access to the Internet and (2) content to which users have access, once online.  She also provided her rationale for open access and identified some sample initiatives.

Title:  Information wants to be free
Posted at

On the trials of low-power television service for rural areas.

The Federal Communications Commission created low-power broadcast television service 25 years ago.  LPTV was envisioned as a way to provide local and niche programming to rural Americans and others not served by existing broadcasters. However, the concept continues to languish.  We have added to the ACDC collection a case report from the Center for Public Integrity illustrating how and why.

Title:  Two hundred channels and nothing on
Posted at

When an agricultural advisory service went private.  A case report.

Last year agricultural information professionals in Africa heard what happened in a Benin community when a pest management advisory service for farmers was privatized.  In a conference paper Ismail Moumouni Moussa reported these results:

  • Opposition because farmers were accustomed to receiving free agricultural extension services.
  • Decrease in demand for information and services.
  • Inequitable access to information because its diffusion was limited to village observers and their close friends.
  • Change in relations between farmers and service providers by “altering the mutual trust environment.” 

Title: Impact of privatization of advisory services

Concerns about gatekeeper bias against rural development.

The Center recently identified a 1991 Journal of Extension article in which Don A. Dillman described the state colleges of agriculture and U. S. Department of Agriculture as biased against rural development.

According to Dillman, these gatekeeper institutions have not made rural development a priority in its right; “both seem too institutionalized in their commitment to agriculture to allow that to happen.”  He argued that agriculture should remain an important commitment.  However, “it should not serve as the implicit intellectual framework and explicit gatekeeper for all of rural development.”

Title:  Agricultural gatekeepers – real barrier to rural development
Posted at:

Consumers of food products looking for “trust marks.”

Recent research by ConAgra Foods suggested that U. S. consumers are increasingly looking for “seals of standards that they recognize and that they trust as a mark of quality food.”  A 2006 survey identified terms such as the following as signs of quality:  “heart-healthy,” “organic and kosher,” “0g trans fats,” “whole grains,” “low sodium,” “natural” and “dietary guidelines.”

Compared with results of a similar survey in 2005, four times as many respondents to the 2006 survey said they would consider buying products based on these marks.

Title:  Consumers seek “trust marks” as a sign of quality
Posted at

Communicator activities approaching

March 29, 2007
“The nuts and bolts of ag communication.”  Midwest regional design and writing workshop sponsored by Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) in Des Moines, Iowa.

March 29-31, 2007
Winter meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Corpus Christi, Texas.

April 11-13, 2007
“Think big.”  2007 Agri-Marketing Conference (and 50th Anniversary observance) of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Dallas, Texas.

April 15-17, 2007
Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D.C.  Information:

May 1-3, 2007
Eighteenth annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Savannah, Georgia.

Yes, another “wretched writer” award.

We cannot resist looking again for wretched rural writing in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  The English Department at San Jose State University sponsors this whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.

Please pardon us for passing along a 2006 award-winning selection from the Western Novel category.  Samuel Goldstein of Los Angeles, California, won with this opening sentence:

“His mistake, Shut-eye McBlamaway reflected, was not in standing up to a gang of desperadoes and rustlers on the high country, but in standing up to a gang of desperadoes and rustlers who had just left the set of a Sergio Leone shoot, and were thus equipped with those guns that never run out of ammunition.”

You can see more of the worst from 2006 Bulwer-Lytton at:

Please get in touch with us when you see in this collection interesting items you cannot find, locally or online.

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

March 2007

Updated on