Survey Indicates Positive Impact of the Plant Disease Clinic

Christine Engelbrecht, Extension Program Specialist II, Plant Pathology

Situation: 

In 2006, the Plant Disease Clinic had a total of 4700 client contacts, via plant and soil samples submitted for diagnosis, phone calls, and email inquiries.  To begin to assess the impact of the Clinic, we surveyed a very small percentage of clients who had sent in plant samples.

Objective: 

To begin assessing the impact of the Plant Disease Clinic on client behavior and savings after contact with the Clinic.

Activities/Output: 

At the end of 2006, we sent 50 surveys to a randomly selected subsample of the 1300 clients who had sent plant samples to the Plant Disease Clinic in 2006.  Clients included the general public, commercial clients (such as tree companies or golf courses), and extension field staff.  Thirty-seven surveys were returned.

Impact/Outcomes: 

Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported that they gained knowledge about the plant health problem, and nearly all clients reported being satisfied or very satisfied with various aspects of their interaction with the Clinic.  When asked how many plants or acres were affected by the diagnosis from the Clinic, responses ranged from 1 plant (for many tree problems) to 15,000 acres (for some field crop problems).  Responses to a question of the economic value of the diagnosis of the Clinic included several hundred dollars saved for several clients, many dozens of valuable trees saved, and saving customers for commercial clients. 

Comments from clients included the following:

This initial survey was a very small start to an ongoing effort to continually assess the impact of the Plant Disease Clinic (now the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic) to make it as effective as possible.

July 6, 2007

100 - Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
130 - Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu