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CARD: Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

Summer 2003, Vol. 9 No. 3

pdf for printing And the Survey Said...

Sandra Clarke

To everyone who took a moment to complete our readership survey in the last issue of the Iowa Ag Review, I extend my appreciation. Surveys are hardly a popular activity for most of us, but in the case of our newsletter, the results will help us to make more informed choices-and a better publication.
One of the issues we wanted to address in the survey is print versus electronic distribution. During tight budget periods, the costs of printing come under increased scrutiny. Fortunately, at CARD, the issue right now is one of reader choice, not of budget necessity. And the choice of a majority of those surveyed (77.57 percent) is to retain their printed copy of the Iowa Ag Review. We plan to continue offering free subscriptions to interested readers. We also will continue to offer the Iowa Ag Review online, as we have for some time (, so the choice is yours. At some point, we hope to improve the online version of Iowa Ag Review so that electronic subscribers receive a notice when a new issue is available on our website. When that enhancement is ready, we will include a business reply in our mailing for readers to tell us whether they would like to opt out of the print subscription in favor of an electronic one.
We found that of those surveyed, 40.19 percent have read the Iowa Ag Review for more than five years. Almost a quarter of the group started reading because they received a pass-along copy from a friend or colleague. And the majority reads one-half to all of the content cover to cover. However, we found that interest in the staff profile was moderate, whereas other features received high interest ratings. Beginning with this issue, we've decided to drop the staff feature in favor of other content that is of higher relevance to our readers. Many in the survey group took the time to suggest ideas for features. From the abundance of CARD research and ideas for content, we will choose features that are timely and of pressing importance to our readers, especially in the areas of commodity policy, international trade, and technology issues in agriculture, all hot topics according to the survey results.
The Iowa Ag Review was created in 1994 to serve as a conduit so that the results of the policy analysis and research coming out of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and its affiliates would reach "farmers, agribusinesses, legislators, and other persons interested in Iowa agriculture." The publication may change a little from year to year, but the mission remains the same. The opportunity to provide feedback about the newsletter does not end with this survey. Please send any general comments about the Iowa Ag Review to or write to the Iowa Ag Review at the address in our masthead.