ACDC News – Issue 07-07

No more market reports on this farm broadcast service.

Effective February 12, the Ontario AgRadio Network stopped presenting farm market reports.  President Dennis Guy explained in an article by Frances Anderson in Ontario Farmer: “We’re moving away from agri-business and putting the culture back in agriculture.”

The article, reprinted in The Farm Journalist, explained that programming of the network will focus on four themes: food crops, livestock, technology and finance, and health (food safety) and environmental issues.  Ontario has 75,000 small farm families that can grow something they’re proud of, Guy explained.  They derive part of their income from their properties and have family incomes to afford to buy what they need for their farms. This kind of programming interests consumers as well as small farmers, he noted.

Title:  AgRadio moving to small-farm programming
Posted at

How consumers respond to information on food labels.

We have added to the ACDC collection some reports of research about this subject from the United Kingdom.  The Food Standards Agency identified several insights about consumers’ response to marketing terms used in food labeling.

Some respondents claimed they would choose between similar food products based on these terms: quality, finest and homemade. However, other pieces of information on the label were cited as more influential.

  • Nearly one-third of the respondents felt that the brand was the most important piece of information when making a purchase decision.
  • One-fourth felt that information about ingredients was most important.
  • Only 6 percent claimed that the product descriptor (such as natural, fresh, pure) was most important.

Title:  Consumer research on marketing terms
Posted at: 

“The big lie about our dirt-cheap food supply”

Writing in, Dan Murphy recently took to task “one of the most enduring truisms repeated religiously by media” about how affordable food is for the average American family.  His review of the arithmetic led him to conclude the USDA claims that Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable income on food are “preposterous.”

Agricultural journalists and communicators may find interest in the estimates he calculates and the questions he raises.

Title: The big lie about our dirt-cheap food supply
Archived February 2, 2007, at

Echoes from 40 years ago.

Dan Murphy’s concern about touting cheap food reminds us of thoughts expressed years ago by Frank Neu, public relations director of the American Dairy Association.  Speaking at a 1966 rural media conference at the University of Missouri, Neu took aim at both the calculations and the messages being conveyed.

“Under the guise of public relations, agriculture gets involved in what to me is a very questionable annual affair.  I refer to the “Food is a Bargain’ campaign.  While I’m sure this campaign is designed as an effort to divert attention of consumer movement groups away from investigating food costs, this is a rather ridiculous way to do such a job.

He suggested several approaches that he considered stronger for relating to consumers.

Title:  What you can do about agriculture’s public relations

Thanks to the Farm Foundation

For contributing two new reports that hold interest for agricultural journalists and communicators.  Mary Thompson, communications director for the Foundation, recently provided:

The 2007 farm bill: U. S. producer preferences for agricultural, food and public policy.  This 64-page report summarizes views of more than 15,000 producers in 27 states about policy goals for commodity programs, conservation and environment, trade, food system (e.g., labeling, traceability, BSE testing), rural development and agricultural credit, public lands and labor.
Posted at:

The future of animal agriculture in North America.

This 153-page report examines major segments of the animal agriculture industry – beef, pork, dairy and poultry – in Canada, Mexico and the U. S.  More than 150 leaders of industry, government agencies, universities and other institutions provided input for it.  Communicators can use it to identify high-priority information needs to be addressed.  Researchers can identify some promising areas for agricultural communications research.
Posted at:

Why didn’t that Spanish-language version produce great results?

Oh, the perils of translating copy across languages. K. D. Bryant Graham of Jackson Electric Membership Corporation got a surprise while reworking an outdated, bland, monochromatic brochure about heat pumps.  Reporting in a recent issue of Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) News, Graham described this lesson learned while updating the Spanish version of the brochure:

“In previous communication, the word ‘heat pump’ had been accidentally translated into ‘bomb’ in Spanish.”

Title: Overhauling a brochure

More global than we had realized.

A review of subject terms in the ACDC thesaurus is giving us a better view of the geographic interests this collection covers.  We have tended, during recent years, to say the collection contains agricultural communications documents involving more than 100 countries.

That number is too low. Today the collection represents agriculture-related communications in 170 countries.

Communicator activities approaching

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

May 20-24, 2007
“Internationalizing with cultural leadership.”  Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Polson, Montana.

June 2-5, 2007
“Communicators unite!”  Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Williamsburg, Virginia.

June 15-19, 2007
“A double creature feature.”  ACE/NETC joint conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) and the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

More rural computer language.

We close this issue of ACDC News with several more computer terms we have seen roaming the Web with a touch of rural flavor.  These feature pets and pests around the place:

Laptop:  Where the kitty sleeps
Mouse:  What eats the grain in the barn
Mouse pad:  Hippie talk for the rat hole
Screen:  What to shut when it’s black fly season

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

April 2007

Updated on