Skip to main content

Weeks Eight/Nine: Call me on the line, Call me call me anytime!

These past two weeks I have been doing all of my interviews over the phone. It is much more challenging. First just getting people on the phone is very hard. I am making calls in the morning, afternoon, and evenings, and some times of day are better for some farmers than others. Some people I have not gotten through to at all yet over the phone! I have a well rehearsed message about the survey that I can leave on a machine. Another challenge is the actual surveying process over the phone. Many people never opened the letters we sent out, so most people do not have the survey in front of them as we go through. Going through the more complicated questions is hard because they cannot see the tables and actual questions, I can only do my best to describe them. Sometimes I wish I could do skpye interviews too so that I could see the people I am talking to and show them the survey. The first page has general questions about the farm operation and also asks for some indicators of farm size. The next three pages are much more complicated with two part table questions asking very specific things about their marking channels, products, and operating expenses and additionally assessing the areas where these inputs and outputs are going to and from, this is where things get complicated. It has definitely taken longer to do surveys over the phone in general, instead of 15 or 20 minutes, its more like 20 to 25 minutes or so to get it all done. I have also started calling people who were not on our mailing list, and have not heard about the survey at all. Surprisingly, a good number of people have been receptive to the cold call approach. Another approach that has been working well is the online version of the survey. Many people have requested to get the survey done this way, so they can work on it on their own time. I have gotten a good 13 responses to the survey in this way. There are an additional 10 people who started the online survey, but left it incomplete so we must unfortunately discount those responses. I have learned a lot in these past weeks of surveying about interviewing people, about farming, about the challenges many of these people are facing, about the growth and wonderful new endevours that many farmers are undertaking, and also that this is really most definitely the worst time of year to be doing this sort of work. I have also been surprised at the high percentages of products people are selling with in the Capital District Region! It was much more than I anticipated. One more week left, and I need 17 more surveys done to get to that goal of 100! Oh goodness!

Speak Your Mind


Skip to toolbar