ACDC News – Issue 07-23

Award-winning reporting about diversity of rural families.

We recently added to the ACDC collection a feature on this subject from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) web site.  Maria Moynihan of the Irish Farmers Journal described how she identified and prepared an article, “The Irish family – no longer nuclear.” It earned her recognition as Outstanding Irish Young Journalist for 2006 in Europe-wide competition from the European Commission.

Title: Finding fascinating, moving
You can see her report and article at:

What do you mean by rural crisis? Agricultural crisis? Farm crisis?

These expressions reflect a general sense of concern over the state of agriculture and rural existence, rural development researcher Kenneth C. Bessant has observed.  However, they lack clear and concise meaning, he says, and be believes lack of consensus hinders research and policy development   His recent article in the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics examined four main themes of debates about rural wellbeing and offered a framework for interpreting them:

  • Farm financial difficulties (such as low or unstable income, indebtedness)
  • Structural changes in agriculture (such as increasing scale, concentration)
  • Rural livelihoods (such as dwindling communities, institutions, services)
  • International dimensions (such as market fluctuations, trade regulations)

His analysis underlines the vital role of clarified and shared meaning, as a foundation for rural development programs and policies. It also identifies arenas for valuable research, teaching and practice in agricultural communications.

Title: Multiple discourses on crisis

View gold-award entries in the 2007 ACE program.

Winners have been posted online in 45 classes of the 2007 critique and awards program of ACE (Association for Communication Excellence in Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences).  Categories include writing, photography, graphic design, publishing, electronic media (audio/video), distance education and instructional design, marketing and media relations, information technology and diversity.

You can view the posted winners at

Internet helping boost the popularity of herbal supplements. 

Larry Nelson, who writes about herbal medicines, has analyzed reasons for a rapid increase in the number of new users of herbal supplements.  In an article, “Herbal supplements rival popularity of drug company giants,” he said he believes the popularity can be directly attributed to supporters turning to the internet to spread their beliefs.

“The internet has brought about several new lines of communication,” he observed.  He cited message boards, chat rooms and article reading web sites as examples of new venues that help increase awareness among consumers.

Posted at:

Mixed reviews of “King Corn.”

This new feature documentary about “two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation” is stirring reactions. Co-produced by Mosaic Films Incorporated and the Independent Television Service, it premiered in theatres during September and will be broadcast on public television during April 2008.  Among the reactions to date:

  • “Engaging and illuminating.”
  • “It’s a treat – and good for you.”
  • “…big on one-sided criticism but absent on any solutions.”
  • “…it was not the fault of the crop or farmers that America struggles with obesity.”

You can see some descriptions and reviews at sites such as: > ByLine (November/December 2007)
Not a kernel of truth in “King Corn”

Community-owned newspapers are popping up in Australia.

They number more than 300 in the state of Victoria, and about 80 percent have started within the past decade, according to an article in the Melbourne Age.  Largely volunteer-run, “they are hitting local shops and community boards.”

Why are they emerging?  The president of the state’s Community Newspaper Association cited three reasons:

  • Locally owned commercial newspapers “have been taken over by bigger regionalizing media groups, meaning it’s simply not viable to be independent.”
  • Political encouragement for communities to take control over their own development has led to facilities such as community houses, which spawn community news sheets.
  • Easy access to technology.

Title: News to them
Thanks to Liz Kellaway of South Australia for sending this news report.

Want to see some local rural advertisements from 77 years ago? 

If so, you can read 22 digitized ads from a 1930 publication that promoted recommended practices for farmers in Wisconsin.  The ads were prepared under sponsorship by the Wisconsin Bankers’ Association and signed by specialists in the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture. Banks throughout the state were encouraged to place the ads locally in the interest of building “your bank – your town and your farming community.”

Title:  22 community building advertisements
Posted at > search on title > click on URL in the citation to view the 22 ads.

Applying the “invisible glue” in rural development.

Experts from 24 countries recently agreed at a global literacy conference in Nigeria that adult literacy should be put at the top of government agendas.  It is, they said, “the invisible glue” in national development plans.  Why?  Because, according to the report, 781 million adults are illiterate, worldwide.

One of the speakers observed, “Governments don’t prioritise adult literacy because they think donors won’t fund it and donors don’t fund it because governments don’t prioritise it.  This vicious circle must end.”  The group estimated that universal literacy could be achieved by 2015 through at least $1 billion of new aid a year.

Title: Adult literacy the “invisible glue”

Rural communicator activities approaching

February 3-4, 2008
Agricultural Communications Research Papers presented at the 2008 conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Dallas, Texas.

February 13-15, 2008
“Experience ICT Africa.”  Continental information and communications technologies conference sponsored by the NEPAD Council (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

March 9-15, 2008
“Global entrepreneurship: the role of international agricultural and extension education.” Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) at E.A.R.T.H. University, Costa Rica.

Avoiding peer pressure.

We close this issue of ACDC news with a communications insight from Agriculture Online Express.

A reporter was interviewing a woman of exceptional age and asked, “What do you think is the best thing about being 104?”
“No peer pressure,” she replied.

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.

December 2007

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