ACDC News – Issue 20-02

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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

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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

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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

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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

ACDC News – Issue 19-08

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


Green shoots of hope across the impoverished local news landscape

“Though it’s a precarious time for local journalism, with ruthless slashing of jobs and papers closing across the continent, there are some small green shoots sprouting up across the impoverished local news landscape.” Olivia Bednar described some of them in a 2019 article in the Ryerson Review of Journalism (Canada). Examples cited:

  • Employee ownership for greater local independence, editorial expertise, and community engagement
  • Social media platform with local news, plus emphasis on a watchdog role
  •  Hub concept – “bits and pieces of local action” from 15 different local news outlets (e.g., online sites, television channels, and radio shows)
  • Library-based local newspaper photocopied and distributed from various spots around a tiny farm town
  • Community website where anyone can pitch a story, supply photos, or links

You can read the article here.


New legal assessment tool for gender-equitable land tenure

We have added to ACDC an announcement of it from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It introduced a legal assessment tool (LAT) providing “prompt, targeted and effective policy and regulatory advice to countries working towards gender-equitable land tenure.”

The tool analyzes national legal frameworks across 30 legal indicators and assessments in 23 countries. Assessments focus on elimination of gender-based discrimination in the country’s constitution, in inheritance, nationality, property rights, and access to justice among others. Effective communicating is a key element throughout this initiative.

You can read the announcement here.


Countering claims in the “Go Green – Go Paperless” campaign

We recently added to the ACDC collection a brief report of global “anti-greenwash” efforts to address what are described as unsubstantiated claims in the “Go Green – Go Paperless” campaign. This blog reported on efforts by Two Sides North America, a not-for-profit, global organization. They involved an analysis of 921 corporations, worldwide.

Two-thirds of those were found to be using unsubstantiated claims regarding paper’s impact on the environment, “usually in breach of local advertising regulations.” After being challenged, 335 of those firms were found to have removed or changed their messaging.

You can read the report here.


Farmers concerned about biological preservation, but not joining an agro-environmental program

That pattern emerged from a recent study involving farmers in the shrinking grassland areas of Normandy, France. Researchers used a choice experiment method to assess farmers’ perceptions and actions involving an agro-environmental scheme aimed at grassland preservation and restoration. The scheme included monetary compensation, but was not successful in prompting farmers to abandon cropping systems they have found more profitable than grassland.

“Environmental consideration is not the key driver behind farmers’ preferences,” researchers concluded.

You can read this 2019 conference paper here.


Two new successful social marketing efforts promoting low-fat milk consumption

The June 2019 issue of Social Marketing Quarterly included results of a case study that featured two effective interventions promoting consumption of 1% low-fat milk. A promotion in the Oklahoma City (USA) media market resulted in a significant 15 increase in consumption. A later statewide promotion resulted in a 42.9% increase in sales during the intervention period.

You can read the abstract here. Contact us at acdc@library.illinois.edu for counsel about gaining full-text access.


Thanks for teaching and research materials

Thanks to Dr. Eugene Kroupa who recently added resources to those he had contributed earlier to the ACDC collection. They relate mainly to his teaching and research during the 1970s as a member of the agricultural journalism faculty at the University of Wisconsin.

His contributions add historical depth and enduring perspective to topics such as:

  • Farmers’ uses, understanding, and sources of agricultural market news
  • Promotion of farm products
  • Audience research methods in agriculture
  • Courses, curricula and trends in agricultural communications

You can get acquainted with his contributions by entering “Kroupa Collection” in the ACDC search system here.


Communicator events approaching

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information: https://aapevents.eventsair.com/2019apen/

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


Surely the oldest career field

We close this issue with a story reported decades ago in the Monthly Labor Review. We discovered it recently in some contributed materials.

A physician, an engineer, and an economist were arguing about whose career area is oldest.

  • “Healing is as old as man himself,” said the physician. “That makes mine the oldest profession.”
  • “Not so,” said the engineer. “God had to use engineering to create the world out of chaos and confusion.”
  • “And who do you think created chaos and confusion?” asked the economist.

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 19-07

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


Covering “Farm Wars” in Arkansas

A podcast during April from the Center for Investigative Reporting examined how use of a weed-killing chemical, dicamba, is stirring conflict in Arkansas. In a program series, “Us and Them,” reporters Trey Kay and colleague Loretta Williams reported on concerns among farmers, commercial firms, public agencies, weed scientists, home gardeners, environmental groups, and others. The report was produced in collaboration with the Food and Environmental Reporting Network.

You can listen to this 51-minute investigative report here.


How consumers in France and Israel view natural food

Here are several findings and recommendations from this recent article in the Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies:

    • Generalized distrust appeared in both countries towards certain industrial manufacturing processes and/or farming techniques
    • Perceptions of natural food differed between the countries and seemed both socially and culturally embedded.
    • Findings show the advantage of pursuing research in the sociology of food that does not compartmentalize means of production on the one hand and consumer practices on the other, but rather reconnects the two.

You can read the article here.


Organizations in hiding

That is the title of a recent article in the Electronic Journal of Communication. It involved outsider perceptions of the appropriateness, effectiveness, and motivations for organizations to conceal themselves. Researchers focused on a broad spectrum of 14 positively- to negatively- valenced organizations. An environmental advocacy organization, Earth First, was among them.

You can read the article here.


A food waste reduction campaign worked (kind of)

We have added to the ACDC collection a 2019 journal article that reported results of a food waste reduction campaign in a university dining room.  Authors tested how such a campaign may influence wastage in an all-you-can-eat setting.

“Results revealed that the campaign had a modest, though insignificant, impact on waste behavior, but there were changes in students’ beliefs related to food waste, which may be an important first step in achieving behavioral change.”

You can review the abstract of this article in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling here.

Contact us at acdc@library.illinois.edu for counsel about gaining full-text access.


Preserving 11 million feet of newsreels

Newsreels enthralled movie goers until the 1960s and may be long gone – except for their amazing content and historical value. We learned recently that 11 million feet of them now live at the University of South Carolina in its Moving Image Research Collections. Donated by 20th Century Fox in the early 1980s, it is the largest set of newsreels freely available online, with thousands of stories meticulously organized and described.

We mention this resource because it represents potentials for researchers interested in the historical aspects of communications related to agriculture, rural life, and rural-urban interactions.  Newsreels covered all kinds of topics – serious and light, anywhere in the world, rural and urban. Scholars estimate that at least 40 million people in the United States and more than 200 million people worldwide watched newsreels each week in the late 1930s.

You can learn more in the 2019 Humanities article which we identified recently.

Also, you can visit the Moving Image website at: https://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/university_libraries/browse/mirc/index.php


“The magic of wireless”

When we read these words today, our thoughts turn to wireless internet, cell phones, and such. However, this title appeared in the May 6, 1922, issue of the Canadian Countryman. It referred to the latest in scientific invention at that time: the radio.

“With it it is possible to sit at home and listen to concerts given hundreds of miles away. For some weeks past one of the daily papers in Toronto has been holding radio concerts which have been enjoyed by people all over the Province of Ontario. The value to farmers of the radio telephone cannot be estimated at the present time, but that it will be great cannot be doubted.”  Indeed.

You can read this article here. It is in the “Reflections – Farm and Food History” section of Farms.com.


Communicator events approaching

July 27-31, 2019
“Global connections in America’s heartland.” International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress and Ag Media Summit (AMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Joint meeting of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), the Connectiv Agri Media Committee, and the national Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Combined AMS and IFAJ information available at www.ifaj2019.org

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information: https://aapevents.eventsair.com/2019apen/

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
“Farm broadcasting: the engine that drives agriculture.” 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


Giving thought to the human side

We close this issue of ACDC News with advice expressed in 1986 by Rosalyn Rappaport, an extension worker in the Caribbean and Africa:

“It pays to give as much thought to the human setting of the information as to its technical content.”


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 19-06

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


Eight new research reports in JAC

We are pleased to call attention to eight recent articles published in the Journal of Applied Communications:

  • “ACE and research: the difference between ‘mere press agent’ and strategic partner” by Elizabeth North
  • “The effect of emphasizing credibility elements and the role of source gender on perceptions of source credibility” by Ariana Bigham, Courtney Meyers, Nan Li, and Erica Irlbeck
  • “Exploring beyond the obvious: social skills needed for agricultural communication baccalaureate graduates” by Arthur Leal, Ricky W. Telg, Joy N. Rumble, Nichole LaMee Perez Stedman, and Debbie M. Treise
  • “Should livestock images provide historical reference or modern reality? An examination of the influence of livestock communication on attitude” by Joy N. Rumble, Tiffany M. Rogers-Randolph, and Emily B. Buck
  • “Can anyone hear us? An exploration of echo chambers at a Land Grant university” by Taylor K. Ruth, Joy N. Rumble, Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez, Hannah S. Carter, and Kevin M. Folta
  • “Diffusion of innovations and public communication campaigns: An examination of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program” by Henry Seeger and Robyn S. Wilson
  • “Crowdsourcing change: An analysis of Twitter discourse on food waste and reduction strategies” by Annie R. Specht and Emily B. Buck
  • “Printing and mailing for the brand: an exploratory qualitative study seeking to understand internal branding and marketing within university and extension communications services” by Anissa Zagonel, Lauri M. Baker, and Audrey E. H. King

You can read them here.


Paper – a natural fit for the circular economy model

“Paper is a natural fit for the circular economy model,” Canadian woodland owner Phil Riebel observed in a brief commentary we have added from Two Sides North America. He was referring to an emerging economy in which reuse, refurbishment, recycling, and end-of-life disposal of a product factor into manufacturing design. Reasons cited:

  • “Paper is one of the truly sustainable products.”
  • It is highly recyclable – “recycled more than any other commodity in the solid waste stream…”
  • “Much of the energy used for papermaking is renewable. Roughly two-thirds of the energy used by North American pulp and paper mills is self-generated using renewable biomass in combination with heat and power (CHP) systems.”
  • “The paper industry uses more renewable energy than any other industrial sector.”

You can read the commentary here.


Why experienced farmers may not re-engage with extension

A recent research project in Tasmania, Australia, shed light on why experienced farmers may not be inclined to re-engage with extension services. Findings of research among dairy farmers revealed a belief that extension activities were targeted to less experienced, young farmers. The belief resulted in farmers perceiving extension activities as “confronting.”

Authors also observed that “the theory of planned behaviour can be qualitatively applied to better understand farmer decision making, in this instance with respect to their initial and continued engagement with extension.”

You can learn more about this 2019 Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension article here.


What online consumers consider most important when they shop for fresh produce

Here are some key findings of recent research involving a stratified random sampling of 1,205 online shoppers in the southern region of the U. S.:

  • 81% said they believe that food labels are very important to them
  • Among those, “grown locally” is the most important label for 49% of them
  • Those for whom “organic” is the most important label constitute 15%
  • 30% consider the combination of “organic” and “grown locally” to be the most important to them

You can read this 2018 conference research paper here.


Update on how U. S. adults view genetic engineering of animals

Findings of a 2018 national survey from the Pew Research Center help identify public attitudes about use of animal biotechnology. The survey examined five different scenarios:

  • Findings showed most support for use of the technology with mosquitoes to prevent spread of disease by limiting their reproduction (70% said it is appropriate) and animals to grow organs/tissues for humans needing a transplant (57%). Both reflected public interest in benefiting human health.
  • Other uses of animal biotechnology were found less acceptable to the public. They included creation of more nutritious meat for human consumption (43% said it is appropriate), restoring an extinct animal species from a closely-related species (32%), and genetically engineering aquarium fish to glow (21%).

You can read the full report here.


Communicator events approaching

June 24-27, 2019
“Communications connections.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in San Antonio, Texas USA. Information:  https://aceweb.org/ACE-conferences

July 27-31, 2019
“Global connections in America’s heartland.” International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress and Ag Media Summit (AMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Joint meeting of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), the Connectiv Agri Media Committee, and the national Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Combined AMS and IFAJ information available at www.ifaj2019.org

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information: https://aapevents.eventsair.com/2019apen/


Together, we shall

We close this issue of ACDC News with a saying in Nigeria. We found it recently in a report from Vic de Jesus, 1981 president of Communicators for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) in the Philippines.

“I’ll carry you behind my back and you carry me, and together we shall ascend the mountain.”


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 19-05

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


Unintended consequences of rural images on social media

We have added to ACDC a case report of unintended public kickback from rural images posted on social media during the historic drought in Australia during 2018.  A Queensland grazier and her friend used Facebook to build public awareness of the devastating effects on livestock and to invite feed for calves. They got a wide range of responses – from sympathy and offers of help to a complaint about animal abuse, plus an investigation by Biosecurity Queensland for concerns over animal welfare.

You can read the story here.


New case study on the economic value of agricultural education and promotion

It involves an economic analysis by the Florida Tomato Committee to evaluate the effectiveness of education and promotion expenditures.  Here are some of the findings:

  • Average sales revenue increased by $7.52 for each dollar spent on these programs during 2011-2016
  • “Accordingly, it appears the promotion and education program has added value to producers of Florida fresh market tomatoes”
  • “Other U.S. producers also gain from this program with spillover effects increasing the value of all U.S. grown tomatoes by $0.69 for each dollar spent on promotion by Florida growers”

You can read this 2019 conference paper here.


A food-oriented short course features learner-driven teaching

We have added to the ACDC collection a book chapter describing a two-week course that featured an engaging, learner-driven approach to teaching about food.  It did so within the context of social justice and sustainability, introduced through use of charrette and knowledge mapping. Author Michael Berger wrote a case report entitled, “Learner-driven teaching for international, global problems” for the 2019 book entitled Promoting biodiversity in food systems (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida).

Check with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu for help in gaining access if the book is not available to you.


Communicating to exploit agricultural laborers

Cluster effects and intense inter-employer communication can be effective drivers of underpayment of agricultural laborers, according to findings reported recently in the Journal of Cleaner Production.  Researchers observed in a vegetable region of Spain that markets dominated by few employers are more prone to exploiting workers. Also, “labour exploitation flourishes in communities of like-minded companies that do not care about mainstream norms.” They observed that this pattern can thrive if the cluster is homogeneous in terms of wage level and if it is isolated from law-abiding employers.

You can review the abstract of this article in the Journal of Cleaner Production here. Contact us at acdc@library.illinois.edu for help in seeking full-text access.


Beer marketers battle over anti-corn syrup commercials

This is a case example of complexities in advertising about food and health. The Yahoo News report introduces a law suit by beer giant MillerCoors about competitive television advertising claims used in the complex world of differences between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.

You can read it here.


Who suffers from weak linkages between agricultural research and extension?

A 2018 journal article about the adoption of soybean production in India reported evidence that adoption of improved technologies did improve crop yield and farm profit. However, the benefits largely remained confined to economically well-off, better-informed, educated large farmers. Authors called for strengthening linkages between research and extension systems.

This theme sounds familiar to many who have offered that advice in many settings and across the generations, based on research and experience. For example, the ACDC collection contains hundreds of documents about this specific challenge and goal. Such documents in the collection trace back nearly 70 years- and our collection is by no means complete. The goal remains, around the world.

You can read this research report here.


Communicator events approaching

May 24-28, 2019
“Communication beyond boundaries.” 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Washington, D.C. USA. Information: https://www.icahdq.org/page/2019Conference

June 2-5, 2019
“Southern accent on fresh ideas.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Savannah, Georgia USA. Information: https://www.communicators.coop

June 24-27, 2019
“Communications connections.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in San Antonio, Texas USA. Information:https://aceweb.org/ACE-conferences

July 27-31, 2019
“Global connections in America’s heartland.” International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress and Ag Media Summit (AMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Joint meeting of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), the Connectiv Agri Media Committee, and the national Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Combined AMS and IFAJ information available at www.ifaj2019.org

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information: https://aapevents.eventsair.com/2019aapen


Another plea for tight, clear writing

We close this issue of ACDC News with a follow-up to last month’s thought about scrubbing academic jargon. It was attributed to Mark Twain in a recent book, Writing successful science proposals (2018).

“I didn’t have time to write an article, so I wrote a book.”


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