ACDC News – Issue 07-08

Editing out the jargon.

Canadian agricultural journalist John Greig has offered helpful ideas for editing out jargon and creating clarity in agricultural journalism.  An editor of magazines and newspapers for Ontario Farmer Publications, he noted:

“Finding a balance between jargon, industry-speak and the clarity needed for a diverse readership is key.”

His recent feature offered eight tips for doing so. You will find them on the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) web site.
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Connecting nonformal and formal farmer education more closely. 

Extension and the formal Vocational Education and Training system have developed separately as vital parts of Australia’s education and training for agriculture.  However, authors of a recent study said they feel “there is reason to believe that better alignment of the two would improve outcomes from investment in training, and improve rural capacity building.”  

Sue Kilpatrick and Pat Millar offered four recommendations for coordinating training efforts to stretch budgets, strengthen collaboration and help farmers identify appropriate learning pathways for their needs.

Title:  Aligning the extension and vocational, education and training sectors
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Five reasons farmers prefer to seek information rather than be trained.

An article we have added from the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension described five reasons they identified in studies of Australian farmer preferences:

  • Preference for independence
  • Familiarity with a highly contextual learning mode
  • Lack of confidence in working in training settings
  • Preference for information from known sources
  • Fear of being exposed to new knowledge and skills

“We recommend that farmers be in control of their training and be encouraged to learn within a wider learning community which facilitates participative research and joint inquiry,” the researchers concluded.

Title:  Information vs. training
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“If we label it, will they care?”

Will informative labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods lead to major shifts in buying patterns?  An experimental study in Canada found minimal effects of GM labeling, overall.  However, researcher Louise A. Heslop, reporting in the Journal of Consumer Policy, found that reactions to GM-labeled products varied substantially in terms of:

  • differing levels of consumer activism
  • perceived benefits of genetic engineering
  • interest in novel foods with consumer benefits.

Title:  If we label it, will they care?

“Farmer Frank” – 2007 Best of (Agri)Television Photojournalism.

An agricultural production has earned first place in the 2007 Best of Television Photojournalism awards program sponsored by Poynter Online.  It is an endearing news feature entitled “Farmer Frank” by Jonathan Malat of Station KARE, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

You can see it online (4 minutes 15 seconds) at:

A critical view of talking animals.

An article in the Journal of Communication Inquiry critiqued some techniques being used by the farm and food industry to communicate with consumers.  Specifically, author Cathy B. Glenn examined the functions of speaking (“virtual”) animals used in advertisements. Among the examples cited:  Charlie Tuna, Foster Farms chickens and a “Happy Cows” campaign used by the California Milk Advisory Board.

Title:  Constructing consumables and consent: a critical analysis of factory farm industry discourse

Pursuing the sistimatika spirit for a bright rural future.

In these days of digital and systems thinking it comes as a surprise to encounter a Greek concept of more human persuasion.  We found it in a Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension article about experiences of growers of organic olives in Western Crete.  The concept of sistimatika consists of:

  • knowledge about what to do, which is made up of a
  • clear vision and
  • technical knowledge about how to organize the work,
  • hard work,
  • love, and finally
  • an ability and desire to search for and learn whatever may be needed.

Authors noted that “the aspects of love and learning capacity are usually unacknowledged in Western conceptions of development strategies informed by a so-called systems approach, but are, however, essential to arrive at what is headed for.”

Title:  Do it sistimatika
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Communicator activities approaching

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.

June 21-23, 2007
“Fiesta del Caballo.”  Seminar of American Horse Publications in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

July 2-5, 2007
“Environmental and rural sustainability through ICT.”  Joint conference of the European Federation of IT in Agriculture (IFITA) and the World Congress on Computers in Agriculture (WCCA) at Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland.

The taste of hot-weather fun.

We close this issue of ACDC News with a morsel offered by E. W. Howe in Country town sayings (1911):

“Put cream and sugar on a fly, and it tastes very much like a black raspberry.”

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

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