ACDC News – Issue 20-06

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Timely reminder for agricultural journalists

On May 3, members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists got a timely reminder about the work of agricultural journalists. IFAJ President Owen Roberts used the United Nations celebration of World Press Freedom Day to highlight an example of their special role in keeping people informed and safe.

“The world will change hugely in the next 365 days as we grapple with the pandemic,” he emphasized. “But two things won’t change: these are farmers’ needs to feed the world, and journalists’ role in helping them do so.”

You can read the reminder on the IFAJ website.


How the world feels these days about the environment

We recently added to the ACDC collection a global snapshot of how satisfied people are with their efforts to preserve the environment and the quality of their air and water.  Results show wide-ranging results of this 2019 World Gallup Poll among adults in 145 countries and areas.

You can read the findings on the Gallup Blog. They were released April 22, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.


“Polarized communities and local journalism”

During this U.S. election year, rural journalists and communicators may find special interest in a case study reported during 2018 in the journal Journalism.  Researcher Andrea Wenzel used focus groups, story diaries, and local interviews to analyze how increasingly partisan attitudes and messages affect relationships and media in “a complexly purple” region of Kentucky.

Findings highlighted how partisan distrust weakened links among actors in local storytelling networks. Distrust involved media and extended to fellow residents and community groups associated with “other” political perspectives. Findings offered an example of how use of communication infrastructure theory can strengthen trust through collaborative engagement on local issues.

You can read the abstract for the article, “Red state, purple town: polarized communities and local journalism in rural and small-town Kentucky,” Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu to get access.


Where to begin communicating about weight (and obesity)

Begin with words? Begin with silhouettes?

Findings of recent research among adults in Australia suggest the latter. “Silhouettes may act as an effective visual cue in initiating weight related discussions,” concluded the authors of a 2019 article in BMC Public Health. Participants in an online survey were asked to categorize their own body size using medically accepted words and previously published silhouettes.

  • A majority of respondents were able to self-perceive their weight status accurately using silhouettes
  • Females were significantly more likely than males to be accurate in their self-perception, using both medicalized words and silhouettes
  • Weight status misperception was more likely to exist among those in the underweight BMI or obese BMI categories than in the healthy weight or overweight categories
  • Respondents in the obese BMI category were significantly more likely to accurately self-perceive their weight status through silhouettes than medicalized words.

You can read the journal article, “Is social exposure to obesity associated with weight status misperception?” at BMC Public Health.


Impact today of radio broadcasts and audio CDs on smallholder farmers in Uganda

We have added to the ACDC collection a 2019 research report that identified audio media as vital sources of information for resource-poor farmers in western Uganda. Researchers Mark Kaahwa and Chang Zhu involved 1,000 smallholder banana farmers in a study featuring a baseline survey, an intervention, and an end-line survey.

Results revealed a statistically significant association between radio broadcasts/audio CDs and knowledge gain regarding most banana farming practices by farmers. Farmers’ characteristics such as age, gender, and level of education did not influence the uptake of knowledge.

You can read the research report, “The effectiveness of audio media in enhancing farmers” knowledge,” at the International Journal of Recent Contributions from Engineering, Science and IT .


Sample dilemmas help teach ethical decision making in an agricultural sales course

A 2020 article in the journal Applied Economics Teaching Resources reported on use of a hypothetical case study to help university students identify and address ethical dilemmas. The title is: “The ethical choice: confronting ethical dilemmas with industry participants in a curriculum.”

Researcher Cheryl Wachenheim of North Dakota State University introduced students to dilemmas such as using “little white lies” to customers and others as part of the sales process. The article included six questions the teacher can use to guide use of the case.

You can read the article, “The Ethical Choice: Confronting Ethical Dilemmas with Industry Participants in a Curriculum,” at Applied Economics Teaching Resources.


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

June 23-25, 2020 (postponed until 2021; other opportunities planned for 2020)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-25, 2020 (virtual conference being offered)

“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 24-28, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

September 14-16, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from June 1-3)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: https://www.communicators.coop

November 14-18, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA–The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Ag Media Council of Connectiv

Information: https://agmediasummit.com

 


A few words of caution about advancing technologies

We close this issue of ACDC News with an observation by Charles Chaput in The devil and politics:

“Fools with tools are still fools, and the more powerful the tools, the more dangerous the fools.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-05

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How new agri-marketers should talk to farmers

David Vincent of Rooster Strategic Solutions recently offered seven tips for new college graduates as they join the ranks of agricultural advertising agencies and agribusinesses to begin working with farmers and ranchers.

  • Farmers are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.
  • Farming is hard, hard, hard work.
  • Farmers are alike, but not homogeneous.
  • Do your homework.
  • Respect their time.
  • Common courtesy goes a long way.
  • Share the farmer’s enthusiasm!

You can read the article, “Rooster Blog: How New Agri-Marketers Should Talk to Farmers”, via AgriMarketing Weekly.


“Being left behind amidst Africa’s rising imagery”

That title of a 2017 journal article refers to what author Eric Otenyo described as “the continued marginalization of the Maasai people amidst the myth of a rising Africa.”

“In sum, the Africa rising myth and penetration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural areas masks the dispossession of Maasai means of livelihood, and therefore worsening the groups’ conditions of living.”

You can read this article, “Being Left Behind Amidst Africa;s Rising Imagery”, in a Volume 21 issue of Australasian Journal of Information Systems.


Early (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables

Thanks to researcher Michelle R. Nelson for alerting us to a sweeping new research report published in the Advertising and Society Quarterly.  She and co-authors Susmita Das, and Regina Jihea Ahn analyzed (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables during the early 20th Century. Their findings revealed that “in an era of scientific discovery and therapeutic ethos, fruits and vegetables were advertised as medical tonics.” The “prescriptions” included daily doses to ward off or cure real or imagined medical ailments (flu, listlessness, acidosis).

Authors concluded that marketers of national food brands and grower organizations contributed to public knowledge – and confusion – about nutrition and foods in early medicalization of fruits and vegetables.  They suggested: “What is most needed now is perhaps a broader social marketing and transdisciplinary approach that uses both communication and advertising to engage in nutrition education…”

You can read “A prescription for health”, in the journal Advertising & Society Quarterly.


Useful resource for communicators in helping farm families remain safe

We recently added to the ACDC collection a report describing a uniquely valuable source of agricultural injury and fatality reports. The resource, www.AgInjuryNews.org, is maintained by the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield, Wisconsin.  It is identified as the largest public database of such reports.

This interactive web-based system tracks agriculture-related injuries and fatalities reported in news media and other sources. Launched in 2015, it is finding use and value for ag safety stakeholders from around the world. For example:

  • News reporters gather data and case reports of incidents in their regions.
  • Producers gain examples and talking points for safety meetings with employees.
  • Extension educators, agriculture teachers, insurance companies, and other organizations use it in interactions with students, producers, and others in farming communities.
  • Local fire departments and FFA chapters use it in safety messages and training.

You can read the report at the Marshfield Clinic’s site.


Communicating human values in the world of animal welfare be cautious about channels to use

A German Animal Welfare Initiative offers instructive insights about communicating in the realm of distinct human values.  We recently added to the ACDC collection a research report about a sector-wide initiative in Germany to improve animal welfare standards.  Researchers addressed three principal value components: (1) Self-enhancement, achievement, power; (2) Self-transcendence, openness to change, self-direction, universalism; and (3) Conservation, security, tradition.

Face-to-face and online surveys among German citizens revealed that “for meat products…the consideration of specific information needs of targeted audience is essential.” In this case, the sector-wide initiative was communicated via websites of the organization and participating companies. However, survey respondents rarely mentioned online sources. “…the majority of consumers referred to brochures, flyers and interpersonal sources.”

You can read the research article, “How different consumer groups with distinct basic human values gather, seek and process information on meat topics”, at the journal International Journal on Food System Dynamics.


How environmental reporters pioneered journalism for a “post-truth” era

Researcher Declan Fahy of Dublin City University, Ireland, used that title for a 2018 commentary we have added from Environmental Communication.  “Since the specialism was formed in the 1960s, environmental journalists have reported on politically partisan issues where facts are contested, expertise is challenged, and uncertainty is heightened.”

“Over decades, environmental reporters resolved these conceptual problems. In the process, they reconfigured the definition of objectivity — in three ways.”

  1. Viewed as the application of “trained judgment”
  2. Viewed as the implementation of a transparent method
  3. Viewed as the pluralistic search for dialogue-based consensus

Environmental reporters, “by engaging deeply with the nature and impact of knowledge, have reconfigured the concept of objectivity, providing a conceptual model and guide to action for their peers. They are pioneers for contemporary ‘post-truth’ journalism.”

You can read the abstract for the article, “Objectivity as Trained Judgment: How Environmental Reporters Pioneered Journalism for a Post-truth Era”, or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

May 21-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 23-25, 2020 (cancelled on-site; alternative virtual events being planned)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

July 25-29, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.

Information: https://web.cvent.com/event/3edf6233-1a53-4e57-bfe5-6d7765331a75/summary

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

September 14-16, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from June 1-3)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: https://www.communicators.coop

September 24-26, 2020 (Rescheduled to September 23-25, 2021)
“Risky business” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Hosted by the Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association.

Information: https://cfwf.ca/events

 


A moral compass for small-town living

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

“So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-04

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Navigating the tricky world of MOOCs for teaching nutrition

A 2020 article in Nutrients journal shed light on complexities of teaching, learning, and communicating within the fast-growing arena of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). A team of researchers at Monash University (Australia) aimed to evaluate learner participation and perceptions in an evidence-based nutrition MOOC. Through it, they also provided recommendations for engaging international online lay audiences.

It’s not surprising to imagine the challenges course leaders faced in working with learners in 158 countries – with varied educational backgrounds.  It takes one’s breath to imagine closing the course with 3,799 qualitative comments about what students learned and preferred in course content and teaching methods.

The article title is “Promoting evidence based nutrition education across the world in a competitive space.” You can read it here.


On “social media hypes” about agro-food issues

Findings of four case studies of social media activity about agro-food issues in the Dutch livestock sector revealed that:

  • Events and controversies generated peak and selective activity on social media.
  • The activity involved a few recurrent themes in the realm of activism, scandals. and conflicts – and was judgmental.
  • Stakeholders “need to adopt a proactive and interactive approach that transcends the view of social media as a mere communication channel to respond to crisis situations.”

You can read this 2018 research article, “Social media hypes about agro-food issues: Activism, scandals and conflicts,” here. It was published in the Food Policy journal.


“Warm up the energy brain. Focus the eagle eye.”

That is the subhead of an editing quiz we have added to the ACDC collection. It involves a 25-question quiz featured at the 2019 conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISNWE). Agricultural communications students, teachers, and professionals may find it useful in learning or brushing up on the Associated Press Stylebook.  The quiz involves multiple-option questions, followed by answers. You can read it here.


Detecting fake news about environment and healthcare

A new research report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health described progress toward an automatic system for detecting dubious sources of information, fake news, baseless rumors, or gossip. Authors analyzed tweet chains and linked them in a systematic way to gain a general picture of false news and information. Cited examples involved assessing validity of tweets related to World Environment Day 2019 and news about a dead whale in a western Mediterranean port.

You can read the article here.


Early report on the “deplorable state of affairs” in assessing the effects of commodity promotion

We recently added to the ACDC collection a critique of analytic procedures used in the 1940s to evaluate effectiveness of farm product advertising and promotion.  Economist Alois F. Wolf cited examples in evaluating promotion of citrus fruit, walnuts, fluid milk, apples, potatoes, and peaches.  Among the problems identified: lack of knowledge of interrelations involved, misuse of statistical data, lack of objectivity, and lack of data interpretation.

You can read this article in the American Journal of Farm Economics, here.


Research for sustainable development needs to work faster

Bruce Currie-Alder of the Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) emphasized that need in a 2016 journal article we added recently to the ACDC collection.

“Why is it so difficult to realize sustainability in practice?” he asked. “The answer lies in the fact that universities and research centers persist with 19th century methods of data gathering, scholarly analysis, and journal articles. Today’s world needs science in real-time, whether to detect drought, confront Ebola, or assist refugees. Research needs to work faster and embrace 21st century practices including data science, open access, and infographics.”

You can read the commentary, “Silent revolution in research for sustainability,” in the Journal of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development here.


Reminder: Welcoming your feedback and ideas

We invite you to participate in our listening survey to help us serve your interests. Participating includes answering 10 questions that will take about 10 minutes. The ACDC Coordinator will review, synthesize and keep your responses confidential. If you have any questions about the research study, please contact Janis Shearer at jshearer@illinois.edu. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a participant please contact the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at 217-333-2670 or via email at irb@illinois.edu.

Thank you for your help. Please click here for the survey.


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue are prompting flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

April 23-24, 2020 (Postponed to this Fall)
100th anniversary reception celebration and spring regional workshop of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network in Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://agcommnetwork.com/events/regionalworkshops/

May 21-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 1-3, 2020 (members to be notified by mid-April)
“Spice up your creativity.” 2020 CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: www.communicators.coop/cca-institute-2020/

June 22-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 23-25, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-28, 2020  (cancelled for 2020)
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)
“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.  Hosted by the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

July 25-29, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.

Information: https://web.cvent.com/event/3edf6233-1a53-4e57-bfe5-6d7765331a75/summary

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

 


“The food in this restaurant is terrible”

We close this issue of ACDC News with a well-worn joke. The response, of course, is: “Yeah, but there’s a lot of it.”  Might the joke parallel information available today when everyone has a view and a global voice regarding food, the environment, energy sources, and other issue-laden dimensions of agriculture?

Here’s to the skilled, dedicated journalists and communicators as trusted informers and mediators of complex issues they address.


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-03

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


What young consumers think about insects as food

We recently added to the ACDC collection a research article exploring the perceptions of millennials about eating insects. Published in the International Journal on Food System Dynamics, it examined willingness of young Italian consumers to buy a variety of snacks containing insect-based ingredients.  Among the results of this contingent rating experiment:

  • On average, all of the respondents reacted more positively to snacks made of insect flour than of whole insects.
  • The effect of adding a cacao flavor, on average, was not statistically significant.
  • A claim of high protein content seemed “not particularly appealing.”
  • Environmental certification of the products appeared not important.
  • Sixty-four percent of the time, respondents said they were willing to buy the products for a reasonable price.

You can read the article, “Insects or not insects?” here.


Communications lessons from a Brazilian meat scandal

A 2019 article in the International Journal on Food System Dynamics offered insights and guidelines for communicating when things go wrong. In their article, “Corporate communication actions in response to crises” researchers tracked the results of a scandal that broke out during early 2017 in the Brazilian meat industry.  A federal police operation revealed corruption acts involving selling meat that was beyond its “sell by” date and adding carcinogenic chemical additives to alter the product’s appearance.

This analysis focused on communications strategies used online by two firms involved in the crisis. Researchers monitored websites, YouTube posts, and Facebook pages during 30 days after the scandal went public.  Findings prompted an observation that the corporate strategy adopted by both firms “failed to satisfy each individual stakeholder’s claim, opting to adopt neutral speech to avoid future litigations.” Stakeholders recognized in this study involved consumers, international buyers, the media, and the government.

You can read the article here.


The geography of social media use in America

We have added to the ACDC collection a 2012 spatial analysis of social media use in all counties throughout the U.S. It was published in a 2019 issue of the International Journal of Geo-Information, featuring metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural sub-samples. Researchers found, for example:

  • The major determinants of use were demographic factors, service occupations, ethnicities, and urban location
  • Facebook users were highly concentrated in the Northeast coastal region, southern California and Colorado, Utah, and adjacent Rocky Mountain states
  • Twitter users were more heavily concentrated in southern California, the Northeast coastal region, and lower-central South.
  • Social media usage was lowest in the Great Plains, lower Midwest, and South, with the exceptions of Florida and major southern cities.

Authors offered priorities and policy suggestions for counties in addressing issues related to digital divide.  You can read the article here.


Why people attend festivals: a case report from South Africa

Analysis of motives for attending a strawberry festival offered unusually-detailed insights from a research report in the African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. We added it recently to the ACDC collection.

This 2017 article by researcher Takalani Ramukumba of Nelson Mandela University featured evaluation of festival activities as motives to attend the Strawberry Festival in George, South Africa. It focused on specific festival activities that were used in the promotional and advertising material for the festival – “breaking the mould of analyzing festival attendance motives as previously employed by many studies.”

You can read the article here.


“Gendered constraints for adopting climate-smart agriculture”

The list of constraints is long in this 2020 Scientific African article, which focused on smallholder Ethiopian women farmers. Research findings showed that uptake by women farmers was affected by limited access to credit, extension, restricted membership in cooperatives and water user associations, user rights to land, skill training, information, and restricted mobility.

Researchers concluded, “Expanding off-farm diversification and rural employment opportunities through changing the land tenure system, which is currently state-owned, are essential to enhance women stakeholders’ access to land and other agricultural inputs.”

You can read the article by open access here.


Reminder: Welcoming your feedback and ideas

We invite you to participate in our listening survey to help us serve your interests. Participating includes answering 10 questions that will take about 10 minutes. The ACDC Coordinator will review, synthesize and keep your responses confidential. If you have any questions about the research study, please contact Janis Shearer at jshearer@illinois.edu. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a participant please contact the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at 217-333-2670 or via email at irb@illinois.edu.

Thank you for your help. Please click here for the survey


Communicator events approaching

April 15-17, 2020
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in San Diego, California.

Information: https://nama.org/amc/2020-amc-home 

April 23-24, 2020
100th anniversary reception celebration and spring regional workshop of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network in Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://agcommnetwork.com/events/regionalworkshops/

May 21-25, 2020
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 1-3, 2020
“Spice up your creativity.” 2020 CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: www.communicators.coop/cca-institute-2020/

June 22-25, 2020
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 23-25, 2020
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-28, 2020
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org

June 24-29, 2020
“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.  Hosted by the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

July 25-29, 2020
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.

Information: https://web.cvent.com/event/3edf6233-1a53-4e57-bfe5-6d7765331a75/summary


“Climate emergency” – Oxford Word of the Year 2019

We close this issue of ACDC News noting rapid rise in use of the term “climate emergency,” as revealed in the language data collected by Oxford Languages. Use of it increased steeply during 2019, more than 100 times more commonly than during the previous year. From relative obscurity, it became “one of the most prominent – and prominently debated – terms of 2019.”

Oxford defines “climate emergency” as a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.


Best wishes – and good searching

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-02

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Food futures and 3D printing

Authors of this Canadian-based case study observed how increasingly-emerging 3D food printing “will have…profound impact on food science, health, sustainability, and what we consider possible in food cultures and economies.”  They looked at Structurd, a Canada-based company, within a larger world of 3D printing innovation, science, and processing.

You can read the 2018 article from the International Journal on Food System Dynamics here.


How people in Italy share information about food through Twitter

Researchers Marco Platania and Roberta Spadoni used quantitative tools and network analysis to describe the food-related information shared via Twitter in two regions of Italy. Findings revealed differences between the two networks surveyed, both with regard to the actors involved and the way in which they shared information.

You can read this journal article here.


Recent changes in computer usage and internet access on U.S. farms

The August 2019 USDA report, “Farm computer usage and ownership,” shows these trends, among others, between 2017 and 2019:

  • Satellite (26% in 2019) and Digital Subscriber Line (22%) continued to be the most popular choices that U.S. farms used to access the internet.
  • Nationally, 75% of farms reported having access to the internet in 2019, 73% having access to a desktop or laptop computer.
  • More than half (52%) of the farms used a smart phone or tablet to conduct farm business during 2019, compared with 44% in 2017.

The report also presents trends by state. You can read it here.


Textbook example of how community newspapers need to and can diversify their revenue streams

A 2018 article we added recently from Newspaper Research Journal described this example during the first summit of the Radically Rural organization. Radically Rural is devoted to sustaining and revitalizing U.S. rural life.

A summit session, “Energizing and growing rural journalism,” featured the Keene (New Hampshire) Sentinel newspaper. Article author Dane S. Claussen described encouraging approaches taken by the Sentinel, an innovative 7,000-circulation daily with more than 90 employees. You can read the article here.


Local community library becomes a news outlet

He said he’s not a journalist. However, during 2016 Michael Sullivan, director of the public library in Weare, New Hampshire (8,966 residents), became publisher of Weare in the World. He developed and posted it on the library website. That was during 2016, after the community newspaper closed. Residents soon complained there wasn’t enough information to help them make decisions for electing local officials and passing budgets.

We have added to the ACDC collection a 2019 article in NiemanReports entitled, “Journalism and libraries: ‘Both exist to support strong, well-informed communities’.” The article described this project and examined the value and promise of journalism-library connections in local communities.  You can read it here.


Communicator events approaching

April 15-17, 2020
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in San Diego, California.

Information https://www.nama.org/amc-san-diego.html

May 21-25, 2020
“Open communication.” 70th annual meeting of the International Communication Association at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 1-3, 2020
“Spice up your creativity.” 2020 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Buffalo, New York.

Information: www.communicators.coop/cca-institute-2020

June 22-25, 2020
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 24-28, 2020
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org


Concrete thoughts about small-town living

We close this issue of ACDC News with another enduring insight from Will Rogers:

“Let not the mind be like concrete—all mixed up and permanently set.”


Best wishes – and good searching

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-01

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Pay attention to local contexts in digital access for rural communities

That was a key takeaway of recent research in Australian rural communities. Researchers examined the relationship between limited connectivity, the local context, and socio-economic outcomes in rural areas. They called for further examination of the nuanced differences among different population groups in rural areas, particularly with regard to generational divides.

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


How U.S. consumers view and deal with food waste now

The International Food Information Council Foundation recently provided an update, based on an August 2019 survey among 1,000 U.S. adults. A few of the findings:

  • Meal leftovers (74%) and fresh produce (67%) were among the most likely to end up in garbage at home.
  • Spoiled or stale food (83%) was the top reason foods ended up in garbage at home.
  • When grocery shopping, 75% said they always or sometimes considered food waste. When eating out, 58% did so.
  • Respondents tried most to reduce food waste by storing to maximize shelf life (60%), keeping an organized pantry (54%), making a grocery list (51%), and using a meal plan (48%).

You can read the report of findings here.


“Not bloke-ified enough?”

This article in the Newspaper Research Journal involves debates on sugar and the supermarket industry in the British national press during 2010-2015. A content analysis of the LexisNexis database indicated that traditionally “female” subject areas of journalism (health, supermarkets) migrated from “soft” news sections to “hard” news pages of newspapers. Researcher Martina Topic observed that “…when this happened, women journalists were squeezed out of covering these issues; instead, most topics on hard news pages become the preserve of male journalists.”

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


Tips for reporting in indigenous communities

An award-winning reporter, Angela Sterritt, says that journalists can do a much better job of covering indigenous interests and communities. Among suggestions reported in the Ryerson Review of Journalism (Canada):

  • Be cautious of stereotyping
  • Add depth and context in stories
  • Get the terminology right and identify sources accurately
  • Use varied sources to reveal the many perspectives, world views, and thoughts
  • Balance positive and negative coverage of issues

You can read these and other tips in the article here.


Inviting your feedback and ideas

We invite you to participate in our listening survey to help us serve your interests. Participating includes answering 10 questions that will take about 10 minutes. The survey will be open until February 15, 2020. The ACDC Coordinator will review, synthesize and keep your responses confidential. If you have any questions about the research study, please contact Janis Shearer at jshearer@illinois.edu. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a participant please contact the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at 217-333-2670 or via email at irb@illinois.edu.

Thank you for your help. Please click here for the survey.


Communicator events approaching

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA.

Information:  https://aceweb.org/Call-for-research-papers-for-presentation-at-2020-ACE-Annual-Conference

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA. Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at specht21@osu.edu

April 15-17, 2020
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in San Diego, California.

Information: https://nama.org/amc/2020-amc-home 

June 24-28, 2020
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada. Information: https://www.iswne.or

June 22-25, 2020
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/


(Agricultural) communication is just too central

We close this new-year issue of ACDC News with an insight from communication scholar Steven H. Chaffee:

“Communication is just too central to all human activity not to attract the interest of economists, psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, and historians.”

We in ACDC can testify to that insight, based on the many sources in which we find information about agricultural communications. And beyond interests Chaffee mentioned about the social sciences, we would add all who are engaged throughout the food and agriculture, fiber, and energy complex – including those interested in preserving natural resources and the environment. That’s our special and vital arena for helping people communicate better.


Best wishes for 2020 – and good searching

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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 19-12

CLICK HERE for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


A fight to keep public notices in newspapers

We have added a 2019 NiemanReports opinion piece of this title to the ACDC collection.

It addresses a long-time policy of publishing notices of government actions in newspapers. Such actions commonly involve budgets, hearings, government contracts open for bidding, unclaimed property, and court actions.

“In recent years, some cash-strapped state legislatures have tried to remove the requirement…” author Maryanne Reed explained.  Concerns, however, emphasize that the public loses out when government makes it harder to find out what it’s doing. The author described efforts to retain public notice, noting the special role of rural residents. The Missouri Press Association reported finding its biggest allies among legislators in rural areas, where internet access is limited and local newspapers still have a strong presence.

You can read the commentary here.


How rural Cambodians are using social media, politically

With increasing access to internet, they are using quiet encroachment in cyberspace, according to findings reported in a 2019 research article in the Journal of Contemporary Asia. However, “the extent of this virtual information revolution is limited, since neither the urban nor rural poor are mapping out new online political strategies, agendas or identities…”

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


Experimenting with hyperlocal rural community journalism

Re-imagining “social columns” as community storytelling and using “liars tables” as listening circles are among the approaches described in a new article in Journalism Practice. Researcher Andrea Wenzel presented a case study of efforts by one rural hyperlocal online news site in rural Kentucky.  She found some bump in subscriptions in relation to one of the two engagement initiatives. Findings revealed no impact from Facebook ads, podcasts, or live streaming.

You can read the abstract here, or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


How university outreach professionals can draw upon Extension competencies

We have added a recent article that explores how Cooperative Extension competencies can help community outreach professionals in universities develop a holistic approach to training on various skills and abilities for community engagement. Writing in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Jorge Horacio Atiles also highlighted values of the Extension approach to systems thinking and logic modeling.

You can read this open-access article here.


Upside-down NGO approach to small-scale farm practice adoption: a case study

  • Bottom up rather than top down
  • Two-way collaborative learning
  • Local empowerment
  • No financial incentives
  • Targeting local markets
  • Maximizing holistic well-being

These are a few of the special ingredients involved in efforts of a non-governmental organization (NGO) working with farmers in Nicaragua. Findings of this case study were reported early this year in Organization Studies. The study addressed a conservation agriculture project sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee among small-scale farmers.  Findings revealed the effectiveness of using these non-centrist approaches to address critical uncertainties associated with such innovations in that setting.

You can read the journal article abstract here.


Communicator events approaching

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA. Information:  https://aceweb.org/Call-for-research-papers-for-presentation-at-2020-ACE-Annual-Conference

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA. Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at specht21@osu.edu

June 24-28, 2020
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada. Information: https://www.iswne.or


Concise career advice

In closing the December issue of ACDC News, we thank Dinah Forbes (Editors’ Association of Earth) for this career insight:
Q:  “Why did you become an editor?”
A:  “Well, to make a long story short…”


Best wishes and good searching

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions, and ideas. 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 19-11

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


A people-less frontline of climate change and rural ruination

People-less photographs taken in 2006 of a falling home erosion in an Alaskan village gained wide circulation. We recently added to the ACDC collection a related visual analysis in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Researcher Victoria S. Herrmann observed that “In many ways, the falling home photographic frame of Shishmaref, its use and reuse, is connected to a wider visual publishing story of a handful of images acquiring extraordinary poignancy in depicting the plight of the Arctic and its people in a time of rapid environmental change.
You can read the article here.


When consumers distrust homemade and locally-made agri-food products

That pattern appeared in recent analysis of such products in Western Honduras.  Analyzing Honduras consumer behavior, researchers reported that, to a certain extent, results may indicate lack of consumer trust in local and hand-made food products. However, they found a positive relationship between labeling and a higher purchasing rate. Also, households with more members, higher income, and younger people showed inclination to make such purchases. Authors offered recommendations.
You can read the Economia Agraria  y Recursos Naturales article here.


Update on rural-urban differences in smartphone and home broadband ownership in the U.S.

These comparisons appeared in a national telephone survey by the Pew Research Center among 1,502 U.S. adults during early 2019:

                                                                  Urban         Suburban          Rural

Have home broadband                            75%                 79%                 63%

Have or own a smartphone                    83%                 83%                 71%

Have or own a smartphone only           17%                 13%                 20%

You can read a summary report of the survey results here.


He tracks “most interesting reporting” on food and the environment

The Center for Investigative Reporting posts a blog to help do that. In it, senior reporter Tom Knudson lists what he considers “the most interesting recent reporting about climate.”  He is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and a 2004 award for global environmental reporting from Reuters and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
You can read the blog here


An early view of computer use for agriculture in Canada

A 1965 article published in the Canadian periodical, Junior Farmer and 4-H Quarterly, offered a glimpse of early uses of the “electronic computer” in agriculture. It pointed to three distinct applications, “each of equal importance:”

  • Statistical analysis of research data
  • Decision making with recommendations
  • Routine summarization of facts and the preparation of reports, costs, etc.

The closing thought in the article: “Let us in agriculture put the computer to use for the benefit of all.”
You can read this piece of agricultural information history in the online “Reflections on farm and food history” collection of Farms.com, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Communicator events approaching

December 6-7, 2019
“Pluralistic extension for enhancing farmers’ income through reaching the unreached.” National seminar organized by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth and Maharashtra Society of Extension Education at Maharashtra, INDIA. Information: http://www.inseeworld.com/seminars.htm

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA. Information:  https://aceweb.org/Call-for-research-papers-for-presentation-at-2020-ACE-Annual-Conference

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA. Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at specht21@osu.edu


Sorting communications, journalism, and education in development

We close this issue with a thought from John Siceloff, writing in a 1982 issue of UNICEF News. He was referring to the role of communications workers in advancing social and economic development.

“…communications workers must be effective journalists if they are to be effective educators.”


Best wishes and good searching

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions, and ideas. 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 19-10

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


View a nationally-honored documentary about devastating drought in Australia

What’s it like for rural residents and communities to experience devastating drought?

Early this year Michael Brissenden and the “Four Corners” team of ABC-TV were honored for offering a peek into that experience. Their documentary, “Proud Country,” aired during October 2018. At that time the men and women of Quirindi (in rural New South Wales) were coping with the worst drought in six decades.

Early this year the team members were honored with the Rabobank/Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists Star Prize for Excellence in Rural Broadcasting. They were commended for this “powerful story that brought into stark reality, not just the profound challenges facing people in sections of rural Australia in times of drought, but also the incredible resilience and community spirit from which they draw strength to face these issues.”

You can watch the program here.


To be clear about food date labeling

We recently added to the ACDC collection a brief report about steps taken by food marketers to help consumers interpret “use by” date labeling. During 2017 the Food Marketing Institute endorsed a recommendation to adopt a standard use of two Product Code Date Label phrases on packaging:

  • “BEST If Used By” – indicates that after a specified date the product may not taste or perform as expected, but is safe to use or consume
  • “USE By” – for perishable products which may be subject to a material degradation of critical performance (e.g., nutritional or SPF declaration) or potential food safety concern

You can read the one-page policy statement here.


Preserving research of the 1980’s and 1990’s about agriculture-related communicating

Much of what we do in ACDC extends beyond news of the day. Our recent processing of records from the Communications Committee of agricultural experiment stations in the North Central Region of the U. S. offers a good example. The NCR-90 Collection in ACDC preserves 118 reports of committee activities from 1981 to 1995. They are often-unpublished nuggets of insight about agricultural communications research and practice during the period.  Thanks to Professor Eric Abbott, Iowa State University, for sharing his files, as part of this valued collection.

Here are a few examples of hard-to-find research information from that period:

  • Individual responses to inconsistent scientific agricultural information (1988)
  • Predictors of college writing performance  (1988)
  • Communication and trust of outsiders (1986)
  • The extension agent as communicator (1985)
  • Farm computers study (1981)
  • Ethical concerns of agricultural journalists (1986)

You can identify them by clicking here.


Communications aspects of the degrowth movement

We are beginning to gather information about communications aspects of the global degrowth movement. Having emerged during the past decade, it represents a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It proposes a framework to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.

For example, the July 2019 issue of Ecological Economics featured an article about linkages between the degrowth movement and a grassroots New Rural Reconstruction Movement in China. You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF for purchase from the publisher, or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu. You can learn more about the degrowth movement at https://www.degrowth.info/en/what-is-degrowth.


Highlighting how ACDC can help communicate better these days

Check out our new flyer/poster highlighting the latest ACDC services. It describes and extends information services and individual help to anyone interested in communicating better about:

  • conservation and environmental issues
  • sustainable farming, food, and communities
  • renewable energy and resources

Here is a pdf copy for your information.  As a flyer it serves as a handout or insert. Unfold it, flip it, and the back side serves as a poster. Please contact us at acdc@library.illinois.edu if you would like to receive print copies for your use, or if you have special information interests we can help serve.


Communicator events approaching

November 11-13, 2019
Professional development conference of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association at Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.
Information: www.ifwtwa.org/2019-ifwtwa-conference

November 13-15, 2019
“75 years strong.” Anniversary convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA
Information: https://nafb.com/events/nafb-convention

December 6-7, 2019
“Pluralistic extension for enhancing farmers’ income through reaching the unreached.” National seminar organized by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth and Maharashtra Society of Extension Education at Maharashtra, INDIA Information: http://www.inseeworld.com/seminars.htm

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA.
Information:  https://aceweb.org/Call-for-research-papers-for-presentation-at-2020-ACE-Annual-Conference

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA
Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at specht21@osu.edu


Outback views about ladder tops and rose beds

We close this issue of ACDC News with two pieces of Outback philosophy. Colleen Wills of Quirindi, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, expressed them during the devastating recent dry spell there.

  • “You may be at the top of the ladder today, but one day you got to come down.”
  • “You may be on a bed of roses today, but the thorns always prick.”

Best wishes and good searching

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions, and ideas. 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 19-09

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Addressing “chaos” in the privacy, security, and control of farmers’ data

We are gathering information about communications aspects of “precision farming.” One aspect involves farmers’ concerns about the privacy, security, and control of their data. Early developments in this fast-changing arena have sparked inconsistent agreements between farmers and the firms that provide precision technologies and services. So we are adding to ACDC a new report of efforts by the Ag Data Transparency organization “trying to bring some order and consistency to this chaos.”

It has developed a “Model” Ag Data Use Agreement, which is free to download to any company that wants to improve its online data contracts. You can read an announcement and chart here.


 Who in the world have developed most patents for genetically modified crops technology

A new article in Scientometrics reported use of patent data to illustrate how the innovation of genetically modified crop technology diffused and distributed globally over time. Data collected from the Derwent Innovation Index were used to construct country patent citation networks, from 1984-2015, for soybeans, cotton, maize, and rapeseed.

Among the reported findings:

  • Only seven developing countries appeared in the country citation network
  • Most developed countries were reluctant to employ GM crop technology for commercial cultivation
  • Private business stood out in the patent citation network. “The early adoption and better performance of developed countries can be explained by the activities of large established private companies.”

You can read the abstract, research methods, and reference list from the publisher here. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu.


A 20-year view of precision agriculture adoption in the U.S.

We recently added to the large ACDC collection of “adoption” literature a 1997-2017 overview of adoption of precision crop farming in the United States.

At the InfoAg 2018 conference, researchers Bruce Erickson and James Lowenberg-DeBoer reported on precision technologies used by agriculture retailers across that period. Their presentation summary included these insights:

  • GPS guidance technologies have been adopted rapidly by retailers
  • Information-intensive technologies are more complicated; adoption is slower
  • Many ag retailers are now offering data management and archiving
  • Few are offering data analysis
  • Creating a profitable, data-driven ag input supply business is a challenge for them

You can read their PowerPoint presentation here.


Public concerns, Extension services, and the future of land-grant universities

Thanks to Ashley Rice, recent graduate of Purdue University, for contributing to ACDC a copy of her master’s thesis: “Factors influencing Indiana residents’ level of interest in engaging with Purdue University.”

Findings of her statewide survey among 1,003 Indiana households identified five top concerns: affordable health care (major concern for 63%), violent crime (45%), pollution (32%), prescription drug abuse (37%), and making ends meet (38%).

Findings also confirmed that respondents were generally interested in engaging with Purdue Extension programmatic areas and there was relative agreement that Purdue University makes a positive contribution to the state of Indiana. In closing, she observed that “Land-grant universities can continue to rise to the challenge and deliver state-of-the-art education, research, and resources for all people, as long as they listen to the public and address critical social, community and stakeholder issues.”

You can read this thesis online by open access here.


Welcome to the new ACDC manager

With special pleasure, we welcome Prof. Janis Shearer as new manager of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center.  Janis joined the Funk ACES Library last month as Public Services and Engagement Librarian in the Life Sciences Division.

She is a recent graduate of the Master of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota. With a BS degree in environmental geography from Ohio University and Master of Agriculture in horticulture degree from the University of Minnesota, she also brings 15 years of administrative and project management experience.

Funk ACES Library serves as hub library for life sciences on the University of Illinois campus.  So she will coordinate and expand outreach and engagement activities of varied units across campus. Those include University of Illinois Extension and the Agricultural Communications Program within the College of ACES. As a specialized resource of the Funk ACES Library, ACDC is closely affiliated with the Agricultural Communications Program. You can reach her through her email: jshearer@illinois.edu


Communicator events approaching

October 9-13, 2019
“Headwaters to the Plains.” Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists at Fort Collins, Colorado USA.
Information: http://www.sej.org/initiatives/sej-annual-conferences/AC2019-main

October 11-12, 2019
Seminar of the Swiss Agricultural Journalists at the guest house Probstenberg, located between the municipalities of Welschenrohr and Seehof, Switzerland. Information: https://www.agrarjournalisten.ch/seminar

November 11-13, 2019
Professional development conference of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Information: www.ifwtwa.org/2019-ifwtwa-conference

November 13-15, 2019
“75 years strong.” Anniversary convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Information: https://nafb.com/events/nafb-convention

December 6-7, 2019
“Pluralistic extension for enhancing farmers’ income through reaching the unreached.” National seminar organized by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth and Maharashtra Society of Extension Education at Maharashtra, India. Information: http://www.inseeworld.com/seminars.htm


Bring on more stories about failure

 We close this issue of ACDC News with advice from Hew Watts, an English farmer who expressed it at a 1967 international conference of agricultural journalists:

“One of the biggest weaknesses is in your continual reporting of success. This gives us a feeling of inferiority, which we are inadequate for the tasks that others do so much better. The occasional reporting of failures greatly improves my morale.”


Best wishes and good searching

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions, and ideas. 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu