Our Readers Have Spoken

Last September, we mailed an opinion survey to our paper newsletter readers. We heard back from over 300 of you, a 23% return rate. Here are a few highlights.

Overall, you are satisfied or very satisfied with the newsletter content (89%). Not many of you have noticed a change in frequency of newsletters (66% noticed no change, even though we switched to bimonthly in 2015). We supplemented the newsletter with a variety of other mailings, so that appears to have been successful.

Most of you feel you receive about the right amount of mail and email from us (84%). Although a few did note an increase in our fundraising appeals.

As I have long suspected, you indicated interest in a variety of topics we cover. These include farm policy (95%), clean energy (93%), community development (93%), small business (92%), health care (86%), and corporate farming (82%).

Of the topics you marked as of little to no interest, the arts was singled out most frequently (49%). This is interesting as we are bringing more stories about art, culture and storytelling in small towns. Our goal is to deepen our depiction and appreciation of rural life. But, please let us know if you ever see an imbalance in our coverage.

Primarily, you dwell in rural places; 60% of respondents live on a farm, ranch or acreage; 21% in a small town; 14% an urban area; and 5% in suburbia.

Most of you are retired (46%), and are/were established farmers (40%). Around 10% own a rural business, and 17% are employed in a small town or rural area.

As to political affiliation, 44% indicated you are Democrat, 27% Republican, 25% Independent, and 5% other.

On the question of age, the largest group is 75 or older (36%), followed by 65 to 74 (30%), and 45 to 54 (23%). Most of you have a college education, with a bachelors degree or higher (61%). Finally, 71% of respondents are male and 29% female.

Many thanks for your participation.

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