Vegetable and Fruit Producer Survey for the Tanana Valley

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Hello. My name is Charles Caster and I am an undergraduate student with the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (SNRAS) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The school seeks to improve the understanding of how much of the food that Alaskans consume is produced in our state. As part of this effort, I have put together this survey for vegetable and fruit growers in the Tanana Valley region who produce for our community. I am working in collaboration with Drs. Joshua Greenberg, Craig Gerlach, Peter Fix, and Dean Carol Lewis at UAF and with producers in the farm and agricultural community. We intend to extend this survey in the future to food producers across the state. We are interested in providing relevant and useful information that producers need to promote a robust local food system.

This survey is intended to complement the U.S. Department of Agricultural survey for Alaska producers. With your help and support, we can provide a more accurate estimate of current production and producer needs. Better information may strengthen our local food system for the benefit of our environment, the community and your customers. This survey is completely voluntary and confidential (all personally identifiable information withheld). When complete, results of the study will be available at the main SNRAS website, http://www.uaf.edu/snras/. I sincerely thank you for your time and consideration.

If you have any questions about this survey please contact me, Charles Caster at 907-455-3890, e-mail: cdcaster@alaska.edu or my advisor, Dr. Joshua Greenberg at 907-474-7189, e-mail: j.greenberg@alaska.edu.

For filling out and sending back the following survey, your name will be entered in a drawing for three prizes (a 20-pound, a 15-pound, and a 10-pound package) of Alaska-grown beef raised at our own Matanuska Experiment Farm.

Please fill out and select all that apply below. Approximate when necessary.
1. Please enter information below.
2. What year did you begin commercially selling produce in the Tanana Valley?
3. How many weeks is your selling season (average for last 5 years)?
4. Number of employees or volunteers (including self if applicable):
5. How many acres did you have in production of vegetables and fruits in 2010 (to the nearest 1/10 acre*)?
*1/10 acre equals 66 ft on a side (4356 ft2)
6. Of the area you had in production of vegetables and fruits in 2010,
how much (to the nearest 1/10 acre) is in an enclosed environment (e.g., greenhouse or hoop house)?
Please briefly answer the 3 following questions about your farming practices.
7. What kinds of fertilizers do you use (both organic and inorganic)?
8. What is your most significant pest problem?
9. How do you manage for your most significant pest problem?
10. Which of the following describes your growing practices:
11. Where did you sell your produce in 2010?
Please indicate the percentage of your sales that occurred through each of the following outlets
within and outside the Tanana Valley.
12. How much of what you produced in 2010 was sold or otherwise distributed within the Tanana Valley?
13. What vegetables and fruits did you grow for commercial sale (excluding personal use) in 2010?
For each crop grown, list weight and its percentage of your total sales revenue (approximate when necessary).
14. If applicable, which are the constraints on expanding your farm/business that are most significant to you?
Please choose from the list below those that apply to you and rank them in order of importance (1 being most important, then 2, 3, etc.)?
15. What do you believe are the most important constraints on expanding the production of locally grown vegetables and fruits in the Tanana Valley (please list)?
16. What are your estimated vegetable and fruit gross sales for 2010?
I am requesting this to determine current production levels and economies of scale for the industry. Please recall that strict confidentiality of all responses is assured.
17. What percentage of your household income comes from off farm employment (choose one of the following categories)?
18. Were your gross farm revenues in 2010 higher or lower than 2009?
19. Referring to the previous question, please give reasons for changes in revenue.
20. Were your farm expenditures in 2010 higher or lower than 2009?
21. Referring to the previous question, please give reasons for changes in expenses.
22. Over the past 5 years, has your farm/business expanded production?
23. Do you expect to expand your farm/business over the next 5 years?
24. What major changes do you anticipate in your farm/business over the next 5 years?
25. Do you participate in the USDA’s Spring and Fall Alaska Acreage & Production survey?
26. Have you heard of the Global Food Collaborative?
The following two questions will help us better understand the demographic makeup of the local farming community.
27. Please indicate your age.
28. Please indicate your gender (m = male, f = female)
29. Additional comments welcome
Thank you very much for your time and responses.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments, Charles Caster at 907-455-3890, e-mail: cdcaster@alaska.edu or my advisor, Dr. Joshua Greenberg at 907-474-7189, e-mail: j.greenberg@alaska.edu.
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