ACDC News – Issue 21-02

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Hearty welcome to Eric Morgan 

On January 2, Dr. Eric Morgan became a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC) Program at the University of Illinois. He will work with colleagues in advancing the agricultural communications curriculum (undergraduate and graduate), teaching courses, and helping students and professionals communicate effectively and grow in their careers.

Eric joins from New Mexico State University where he led the Department of Communication Studies. His research and teaching interests center on intercultural, environmental, and science communication.  His doctoral dissertation at the University of Massachusetts involved communication about the environment in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and he has received the Tarla Rae Peterson Book Award in Environmental Communication as co-editor of Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice.  His teaching honors include the Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence at New Mexico State University and national recognition for expanding opportunities for students to gain intercultural communication experience abroad.

“I am very excited that Dr. Morgan is joining our team,” reports ALEC Director David Rosch.  “He possesses multiple decades of experience as a scholar of communication, which will provide great complementary with the rest of our faculty and allow us to teach an ever-broader range of courses to students than we have in the past.”

“Why general artificial intelligence will not be realized”

University of Bergen (Norway) researcher Ragnar Fjelland published an article of that title in a 2020 issue of Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.  It focuses on the distinction between artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) and artificial general intelligence (AGI).

“…although development of artificial intelligence for specific purposes has been impressive, we have not come much closer to developing artificial general intelligence,” Fjelland observed. Nor does he expect it.


You can read this article by open access here.

Recent data on views of food consumers about plant alternatives to animal meat

A 2020 survey among adult U.S. consumers identified their views about the healthfulness and labeling of plant alternatives to animal meat. Among the findings:

  • After comparing nutrition information, more respondents said the plant alternative is healthier than ground beef
  • Vitamin and mineral information was most influential for those who said the plant alternative is more healthy
  • Sodium content was most influential for those who said ground beef is more healthy
  • 40% said a burger made from plants is healthier than one made from ground beef
  • 66% identified themselves as omnivores


You can read the 43-page report from the International Food Information Council here.

Learning to listen from the margins: toward justice for marginalized women farmers

Findings reported during early 2020 in Communication Theory emphasized communicative justice through voluntary village-level associations of cooperating women farmers from low-income households. Researchers Mohan Dutta and Jagadish Thaker moved beyond diffusion theory and the long-dominant “patriarchal construction of development as a catalyst for economic growth.” They presented results of a culture-centered collaboration in a village in Andhra Pradesh, India.  The participating women conceived, designed, and delivered their development effort, based on their knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices in their lived experiences. They managed:

  • agricultural resources (land, seed bank, and an alternative public distribution system) and
  • communicative infrastructures (community radio programming, advocacy, interventions)


Considerations and experiences reported in this article may be relevant and useful in any culture. You can read “Sustainability, ecology, and agriculture in women farmers’ voices” online by open access.

Greater potentials for partnerships of science and graphic arts

A pilot project testing collaboration between scientists and graphic designers “paid off in terms of powerfully communicated graphic art and scientists’ clearer conceptualization of their own work.”  Authors of this 2019 article in Communications Biology described their project and offered recommendations. They concluded that the benefits of scientist-artist collaborations far outweigh their costs of time and effort.

“They will reach audiences that research literature never will. As such, they are a tremendous asset in a time when the increased politicization of complex scientific issues, such as the future of food and nutrition security, necessitates the communication of science to society in ways that are accessible and engaging.”


You can read the article here.

 “Food delivery apps deliver, but at what cost?” 

Panelists in a recent session of the Produce Marketing Association addressed the pros and cons of restaurant food delivery apps such as Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates. We have added a news report about it from a July 22 issue of The Packer.


You can read the article here.

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with contact information you can use for details.

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.


May 20-22, 2021

“Back in the Saddle” American Horse Publications Equine Media Conference for members, in Irving, Texas. AHP celebrating 50 years.


June 21-23, 2021

“Elevating Voices.” Virtual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE)


A global moral insight for small-town living

We close this issue of ACDC News with an observation from Will Rogers:

“All people smile in the same language.”

Best regards and wishes for your year ahead

ACDC is a resource for you, so please feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique and valuable international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to