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Week Two: Putting Together a Population for the Local Agriculture Study

The second week of my internship was quite intensive! On Monday I ran my first polycom, which is sort of like skype for businesses, so you can do a video conference call between a few different locations. It was an experience figuring out how to plan the agenda and run the meeting, and it all felt very futuristic. We got some great input on the survey and cover letter and it was really nice to know that people are interested in the project and willing to help. My goal for the week was to put together the population for the survey we are doing and to finalize the survey and cover letter so that I can mail them out as soon as possible. It has been really awesome to drive around the Capital District and see gorgeous landscapes and so many farms. The clouds and mountains were lovely on the drive to Troy on Monday.


The hardest part of this week was gathering all the information about farms from all 11 counties.  We are surveying farms of all sizes, with all types of products from dairy to meat to vegetables to maple syrup, and all types of farming practices as well. Cornell Cooperative Extension employees were instrumental in helping me get a population together for the survey. I am so grateful for the time many people spent organizing and emailing me lists of farms and addresses and various other contact information. From this final list, a random sample will be taken from the population, around 200 farms, and I will mail them the survey. It will then be my job to call each farm and set up interviews to get the data. The survey is intense, and it will definitely take some time to get all the information we need. Despite how hard it may be to get the responses we need in the busiest time of year for farmers,  I am excited to start the surveying process and to get to meet so many farmers.

I think that the organization of interviews will be the most challenging part of the the rest of the summer. With such a large area to cover, and only a few days in each county, it will be quite a process! I have a total of around 35 days to get all of the surveying done, and friends to stay with along the way when I am hours from home. With luck I will get the survey process rolling smoothly and mailings out promptly!

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