ACDC News – Issue 07-21

A “grievous information gap” in coverage of climate change.

This topic is not getting adequate attention in the developing world, said Ochieng Ogodo in a presentation to the 2007 World Congress of Science Journalists.  Climate-related emergencies capture the attention for a while as big stories, Ogodo noted.  However, farmers and rural communities in the developing world need continuing access to information they can use to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.  The presenter offered two suggestions to science journalists about how to fill this “grievous information gap:”

  • Set up networks to share information about climate change.
  • Build bridges between the “developed” and “developing” environmental and science journalists to exchange ideas and information about the topic.

Title:  Reporting climate change
Posted at 

On farmers misreading what neighbors were thinking.

Signs of disconnect appeared in a study about lingering public reactions to large-scale swine facilities in the U. S. In the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Animal Science researcher Ann Reisner reported results of a survey among large-scale swine facility pork producers, their nearby neighbors and local-community swine facility activists.  They were interviewed several years after the facilities were established or expanded.  No active resistance to the facilities remained.  However:

“The majority of farmers indicated that people in the area had accepted their operation, which was a significant misreading of the residents’ level of support.  Residents and activists did not differ significantly on most measures of opinion; the primary difference was that activists were willing to say publicly what many thought privately.”  

Title:  Reaction of the local public to large-scale swine facilities

Myths and paradigms of participatory communication.

Discussions swirl these days about concepts of citizen journalism, social media, online video amateurs and other forms of participatory communicating.  We recently added to the ACDC collection a book chapter, “Myths and paradigms of participatory communication,” that urged caution. Drawing upon 25 years of international experience, development communication specialist Alfonso Gumucio Dagron observed:

“The abundance of commercial media has created a mirage of variety and choice; however, in reality it offers much less in terms of multicultural content, information, access and participation. … In this context, alternative and participatory media have a greater importance than ever in the defense of human values and the diversity of cultures, languages and beliefs.”

Title:  Myths and paradigms of participatory communication

GM food documentary sparks reactions.

“The Future of Food,” a 2005 film documentary about the development and use of genetically modified food, is stirring varied responses.

Reviews in newspapers and other media have described the film variously from enlightening, fascinating, brave and powerful to activist, one-sided and “a parade of talking heads making doomsday prophesies.”

“After watching The Future of Food…I was deeply troubled by the irresponsible pseudo-documentary which tries to present lies as truth and fiction as fact,” said Karri Hammerstrom, a tree fruit and alfalfa producer in California writing on the AgBioTech web site.

A college-level educational curriculum based on the film was released last month. You can learn more about the film and tap into some of the conversation it generates at: (official web site)

Users of herbal supplements – doing their own thing?

A report from Decision News Media SAS comments on recent findings that a substantial share of consumers of herbal supplements in the U. S. fails to follow evidence-based standards.  The study, reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, revealed that two-thirds of the consumers of eight commonly used herbs failed to use them in line with the chosen scientific standard.  Researchers observed that results may reflect a lack of information reaching consumers.  “Furthermore, health care professionals may not often be a major source of herbal product information for patients.”

Title:  Most herbal consumers
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Hear how farmers in India are using Web2.0 tools.

Listen to Dr. Jayanta Chatterjee of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur describe how they are overcoming language and literacy barriers through participatory use of electronic technologies. This application involves farmer-to-farmer, voice-based blogging based on mobile phone technology.  The audio report is 3:17 in length.

Title:  Farmers in India overcome language
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Can psychology help the dismal science?

That question introduced a recent article about factors that influence what we eat, and how much.  Author Lisa Mancino suggested in a USDA article we added recently to the ACDC collection that behavioral economics can help address what she calls “insidious consumption.”  Here are some of the examples she described:

  • Using “mental accounting”
  • Increasing self-control through simple commitment devices
  • Judging a serving by its container
  • Choosing default options

Title:  Insidious consumption
Posted at

From that site, you can also hear a podcast interview (9:58) with the author.

Communicator activities approaching

November 13-14, 2007
“Capture, consolidate and communicate – the changing nature of contemporary extension.” National Forum of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network in Canberra, ACT, AUSTRALIA.

November 14-16, 2007
“A rural renaissance.”  Annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

How’s that again?

So you follow commodity prices with an eye on topping the market? We close this issue of ACDC News with a report that came one morning during harvest season from a grain merchandiser at a local elevator in Iowa:

“Corn called sharply steady.”

Please pass along to us by return e-note any interesting expressions that catch your eye.  Agricultural writing should hold no shortage of shared entertainment.

Do you have thoughts, examples or suggestions related to any topics featured in this issue? 

Please send them to us by return e-note.
Get in touch with us:

  • When you cannot locate information you need about communications, as related to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural affairs in any part of the world.
  • 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.

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

Best regards and good searching.

November 2007

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