April- June 2002
Dairy producers have identified profitability and quality of life as major issues with their dairy families. Past producer surveys have identified newsletters as being a preferential means of receiving Extension information regarding educational programming and activities.
These field specialists lead an effort to over the past 3 years to initiate and expand the Extension View Dairy Newsletter. Stage one was to garner support in the 4-counties served by Larry Tranel. Stage two was to team with colleague Dale Thoreson to expand and cooperate with the newsletter to cover all of NE Iowa . Stage three enlisted the support and assistance of the statewide dairy team to assist in writing some of the article and distributing the newsletter information statewide. Stage four consisted of developing Internet access and distribution of the newsletter.
In March, 2002, the readership and distribution of the newsletter was estimated at over 2,500 copies mailed from ISU Extension offices in NE Iowa in addition to the copies accessed and/or printed off the Ag and Natural Resources web site.
A March 2002 survey indicated that 95 percent of those returning the survey usually or always read it. The information was usually or always deemed useful by 97 percent of the readers. Awareness of Extension programs was increased by 96% of the readers.
The length of the newsletter was judged “just right” by 92% of the readers while 95% of agree the newsletter is easy to read. All of the newsletter was read by 64% of the respondents while 34% read some of the newsletter and only 2% responded they do not read much of it. One third of respondents answered the newsletter's value is between $1 to $50 and 52% of respondents felt the value in each newsletter was greater than $50.
The positive comments about the types of articles found most helpful far outweighed those that were least helpful by about a 4:1 ratio. The respondents outlined appreciation and hopeful continuation of the newsletter.
The field specialists are committed to further improvements to the newsletter to continue the goal of “empowering farm families with profit and quality of life” by means of educational programming through the ISU Extension View dairy newsletter.
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July 11, 2006
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