I am grateful for financial support through professional development grants from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resource and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) that permitted me to pursue this interest. Also, I am grateful for the support of my co-workers at Purdue and my collaborator, Dr. Jason Ellis of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Literary reviews and independent studies that focused on oral history theory, methodology, uses, transcription processes and much more helped me embark on this journey. I also was able to visit with retired faculty and active professionals who expressed support for this project and liked the idea of collecting and preserving the history of the agricultural communication community from individuals. Dr. Jim Evans and Dr. Bob Kern were my first interviewees and have been very involved and supportive. Since 2008, I have had the opportunity to conduct three additional personal interviews and 1 group interview.
Each interview will generate a number of products, including a biographical sketch, a timeline of the person’s professional life, the transcribed interview and a professionally-edited podcast. My hope is that some of this content can be used in agricultural journalism and agricultural communication classes. It can help students learn about the many dimensions, perspectives, opportunities and experiences of agricultural communicators who have contributed to the growth and development of this community during the past half century.