Food Storage

Survey Introduction

 
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey on your produce storage facilities.

UMass Ag-Extension is conducting research on farm produce storage facilities and practices in New England in collaboration with UMass Building Sciences. This is a developing project and this survey will enable us to achieve two goals. One goal being to determine what storage facilities and storage methods are currently prevalent, what problem trends exist and how these may be mitigated and improved. Our second goal is to offer an energy audit of as many respondents' storages as possible.

This survey is completely anonymous, however, in order to receive useful energy audit information about your storage operation, we will need to know your facility location and how to contact you. Within the survey you will be given the option to provide contact information. While you will no longer be anonymous, the researchers are committed to maintaining confidentiality. This means that only the project leader (Benjamin Weil) will be able to access the computer files with identifying information. This information will only be used for the purposes of contacting you to request additional energy usage information and to provide you with an energy audit report. In short, by completing this survey as accurately and thoroughly as possible you will in return receive an energy audit of your storage if you choose to waive anonymity and provide contact information. Any additional information you can give in the open answer questions is greatly appreciated.

The information will serve as a baseline that will aid us in developing technologies and techniques to ensure optimum crop storage conditions while achieving energy efficiency and low cost operation. Thanks again for your time.

The rest of this page consists of a consent form. To participate in the survey, you will need to select "I agree" on the consent question at the bottom of this page.
WHAT IS THIS FORM?
This form is called a Consent Form. It will give you information about the study so you can make an informed decision about participation in this research. Please print out a copy of this page for your own records.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE?
Any person who is substantially responsible for and knowledgeable about food storage systems on a given farm may participate.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY?
This survey is designed to enable the researchers to characterize on-farm food storage infrastructure, design, practices, trends, and energy usage in the northeast. Information from the study will be used to develop a rapid energy assessment tool for food storage facilities.

WHERE WILL THE STUDY TAKE PLACE AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
The study will be conducted on-line. Participants may spend between 15 and 90 minutes answering survey questions depending on how many food storage facilities they operate.

WHAT WILL I BE ASKED TO DO?
If you agree to take part in this study, you will be asked to answer questions about your food storage infrastructure and practices. You may skip any question you feel uncomfortable answering or that does not apply to your operation. The survey is anonymous, but if you choose to share contact information, the researchers will contact you to ask for additional energy usage information (for example, from electricity bills). We will not share any identifiable information with any person not directly involved with conducting the study.

WHAT ARE MY BENEFITS OF BEING IN THIS STUDY?
This project should result in the development of a tool for remote energy audits of food storage facilities that can benefit any vegetable farmer or food storage operator. Participants who provide contact information will receive energy audit results which can help them make money-and-energy saving decisions. The results of the survey may also result in broad recommendations for best practices that will be available to any vegetable storage facility.

WHAT ARE MY RISKS OF BEING IN THIS STUDY?
We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, a possible inconvenience may be the time it takes to complete the study.

HOW WILL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION BE PROTECTED?
The following procedures will be used to protect the confidentiality of your study records. All survey data will be stored in a password encrypted database file. Any paper correspondence will be stored in a locked file cabinet. The researchers will keep all study records, including any codes to your data in a password encrypted file in a secure computer owned by the University of Massachusetts. Research records will be labeled with a code. A master key that links names and codes will be maintained in a separate and secure location. The master key and audiotapes will be destroyed 6 years after the close of the study. All electronic files, including databases and spreadsheets containing identifiable information will be password protected. Any computer hosting such files will also have password protection to prevent access by unauthorized users. Only the members of the research staff will have access to the passwords. At the conclusion of this study, the researchers may publish their findings. Information will be presented in summary format and you will not be identified in any publications or presentations.

WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Take as long as you like before you make a decision. We will be happy to answer any question you have about this study. If you have further questions about this project or if you have a research-related problem, you may contact the researcher, Ben Weil at (413) 545-1828. If you have any questions concerning your rights as a research subject, you may contact the University of Massachusetts Amherst Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) at (413) 545-3428 or humansubjects@ora.umass.edu.
CAN I STOP BEING IN THE STUDY?
You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to. If you agree to be in the study, but later change your mind, you may drop out at any time. There are no penalties or consequences of any kind if you decide that you do not want to participate.

WHAT IF I AM INJURED?
The University of Massachusetts does not have a program for compensating subjects for injury or complications related to human subjects research, but the study personnel will assist you in getting treatment.
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1. SUBJECT STATEMENT OF VOLUNTARY CONSENT
When digitally signing this form I am agreeing to voluntarily enter this study. I have had a chance to read this consent form, and it was explained to me in a language that I use and understand. I have had the opportunity to ask questions and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I can withdraw at any time.
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