Agri-Business Newsletter

January-March 2002

Todd Vagts , crop specialist

Carroll, Crawford, Monona, Calhoun, Sac, Ida, Pocahontas and Buena Vista counties are home to 6,794 farms. Most farms look to agricultural service providers for direct service or for information transfer. Agriculture, like most other industries, has become increasingly information- and technology-dependent. Information provided to the agricultural producers and service industries must be timely, innovative, relevant to the current situation, easy to read and must enhance the efficiency and profitability of the operation or service provider. Iowa State University publishes an excellent Integrated Crop Management newsletter during the summer, providing information on past, present and new strategies in crop and pest management. Yet this newsletter is limited in scope in that it must cover topics relevant to the entire state of Iowa . Crop and pest management situations localized on a smaller scale, requiring management strategies specific to the region often times cannot be specifically addressed in a statewide newsletter.


Regionalized crop and pest management newsletters written by ISU Extension Field Crop Specialists and distributed through county offices have been utilized for many years, including the “Crop Update” newsletter distributed to west-central and north-west agricultural service providers. This regionalized newsletter's focus is to address specific needs and problems associated with the eight county area, including the counties of Carroll, Crawford, Monona, Calhoun, Sac, Ida, Pocahontas and Buena Vista .
In 2001, twenty-two issues were distributed via fax, email and web page. A partial listing of topics included corn and soybean management, forage management, soil fertility, pest management, crop and insect growth stages as well as agricultural events lists.

A survey was sent to all newsletter recipients asking them if the “Crop Update” newsletter was of use to their business. All respondents indicated the information was timely and pertinent to local crop and pest management situations. A vast majority indicated that the information was easy to read, saved their business time and money and helped them to better serve their clientele. One respondent indicated that the decision making process is enhanced with which the economic profitability of the farmer is increased. Respondents indicated that insect, disease and weed management information was of most use in their business.


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