Taking the pulse of Ohio farmers

COLUMBUS (AP) — Extreme weather, trade tensions, declining prices, lack of access to health care and
urban sprawl.
To get a better handle on how Ohio farm families are adapting to these challenges, researchers at The
Ohio State University will be asking farmers to share their experiences through a new statewide survey
this February.
The 2020 Ohio Farm Poll will gather information about the current well-being of different types of
farmers across the state, including any changes they might be seeing. The questionnaire will provide an
opportunity for farmers to share their views with researchers at Ohio State’s College of Food,
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and state policymakers about a range of issues. The survey will
be mailed in early February to a random sample of 3,000 farmers.
“We know Ohio farmers often feel over-surveyed and have limited time. However, we also know that
decisions are being made by local, state and national policymakers without a good grounding in the
realities farmers face,” said Doug Jackson-Smith, a CFAES professor.
The survey will ask farmers not only about their farm businesses, but also about how farming trends are
affecting the well-being of their households and communities.
The persistent spring rain last year created the state’s worst planting year on record. That, plus a
significant increase in international tariffs on American agricultural goods and a spike in prices for
hay and other forages made farming particularly challenging last year. As a result, knowing how farmers
are dealing with these hurdles has become especially important.
“Our hope is to better understand how farmers who raise different crops and market in different ways have
been affected, and how we can best help them through those challenges,” said Shoshanah Inwood, a CFAES
assistant professor.
It has been over a decade since a scientific, statewide poll was conducted in Ohio on these types of
issues. Ohio has a diverse agriculture industry, and the survey is designed to help researchers and
leaders better understand the challenges different types of farmers face. To ensure the results
represent the full breadth of Ohio’s diverse agriculture industry, Inwood and Jackson-Smith are
encouraging everyone contacted to respond if at all possible.
Survey results will be available later this year and will be shared with farmers, farm organizations,
state agencies and policymakers. Results will also guide CFAES researchers and program leaders with
CFAES’ Ohio State University Extension outreach arm in building a more vibrant, prosperous farm economy
and farm population.
For more information about the survey, contact the survey’s leaders, Jackson-Smith,
[email protected] or 330-202-3540; and Inwood, [email protected] or 330-263-3790.