Crop Update Email Newsletter
Agricultural clients need access to crop and pest management information quickly
and effectively throughout the year, most importantly in the growing season.
While there are many sources of information for clients to use, Iowa State University
Extension has the research-based, most up to date recommendations that agricultural
clients desire to make the most accurate economic and environmental decisions.
I want the clients to have quick, easy access to me and this information; however,
with a large 10 county geographic area to cover, it is difficult to visit every
agronomist, retailer, and grower who may have a question.
A quick, easy to use e-mail update was generated and sent directly to over 400
growers, retailers, consultants, agronomists, manufacturer reps, farm managers
and media personnel in Iowa. The updates are also posted on several county web
pages in southwest Iowa and on the area office website. As well as Iowa, the
information finds its way to growers and dealers in Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri
and South Dakota. An advantage of e-mail is the ability of the clientele to
send back questions and get a rapid response, so an e-mail link is included
on the web-based version. Another advantage of electronic communication is quick
delivery of the information. As a crop concern flared up in an area, such as
soybean aphids, this season, the rest of southwest Iowa was alerted and provided
appropriate information. Over 70 issues were sent this past year, with an average
of two per week in the growing season. The updates are brief and easy to use,
often containing links to more resources if the client needs additional information.
A survey was sent to the recipients of the e-mail version of the newsletter
to evaluate its effectiveness. One hundred twenty-one clients responded, all
were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the newsletter
overall, with the vast majority being "very satisfied." Clients indicated
that they electronically forwarded the updates to over 762 customers, co-workers,
and neighbors. Seed, chemical, and fertilizer retailers also indicated that
they printed the updates and posted them in their offices as well as including
information from them in printed crop newsletters that are mailed to customers.
The information was included in ag newsletters from retailers, seed and chemical
companies, government agencies, and ISU Extension offices. The information was
also put in print media and shared on TV and radio programs throughout the year.
Some client comments were:
- "I read every one of your posts. I find them very helpful during the
heat of the battle to keep up with what may be coming around the corner to
our area from other areas. You report what is happening at the current time.
I try to print them off and lay them on the counter for all patrons to see
and read. Thank You and keep up the good work!" Cody Shay, Advance Ag
- "Your reports are excellent. Keep them coming!!!" Jeff DeYoung,
Iowa Farmer Today
- "Info was always very timely. Most times I got an email from you concerning
an issue the same day I heard about it in the field," Adam Harder, USFS
- "Crop updates were timely, very useful, easy to read and I did use
the links to other pages frequently. These updates did have a financial impact
on to my clients and my own personal farm (12,000 acres). Keep up the good
work. You bring a "hands on" approach and perspective and I like
that." Marty Mattes, AFM, ARA
- "Your updates are awesome. You manage to always have timely info-even
with a good-sized and fairly diverse trade area. When I run into challenges,
I always expect you will have an update within a day or two, otherwise I would
email you with concerns." Ryan Wilgenbusch, Agriland FS
- "Clarke, just wanted to tell you that I appreciate these updated emails
and the info. Keep up the good work!" Dave Boettger
- "I impact several thousand acres... the impact of your info in $$ is
difficult to measure but anywhere from $2-40 plus." Albert Putz
- "This has been by far the most localized "headsup" info as
problems develop during the growing season. Yes, your info is very useful
for my farming operation, my seed customers, and my crop scouting customers.
You easily have a $5-50/acre in impact, Ac/Yr in fertility and chemical and
insect programs, and our family operation impact could be $35000 in these
areas. My clients have a similar investment to protect, manage, etc; this
could be over $1 million of crop impact in just Mills Co." Gee Farms,
Seed Dealers/Crop Consultants
Clients who were inclined to put a dollar value to the impact of my ISU Extension
crop updates indicated an impact to their operations and/or to their clients
operations of over $1.5 million. Judging by the comments, number of clients
who hear about, see, and use the updates in one form or another, and the economic
impact, it is appropriate to say that ISU Extension information products can
be and are effectively distributed from the field specialists to the clients,
through many accessible means. The mailing list continues to grow.
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