Crop Consulting In Iowa: 
A survey of Farmer Users and Nonusers

Summary of a 1994 Survey Conducted by Iowa State University Extension

Report prepared by Peggy Petrzelka, Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames,

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Services Crop Consultant Provides

Crop consultant users were asked about services their crop consultant provides. Services provided to more than a majority of users include:

About the Survey…

In summer 1994, Iowa State University Extension's Pesticide Impact Assessment and  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs sponsored a survey among Iowa farmers to gain information from those who use and do not use crop consultant services.

Surveys were conducted by face-to-face interviews. Two groups were surveyed; those who subscribe to crop consultant services ('users'), and those who do not ('nonusers'). Names for the user sample were obtained from the Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association. The nonuser sample was individually  matched with the user sample. One hundred twenty-eight of 152 users were interviewed, for a response rate of 84 percent. One hundred twenty-eight nonusers of 145 identified were interviewed, for a response rate of 88 percent. Thirty-two of Iowa's 99 counties are represented among the respondents.

Commercial fertilizer rate recommendations          91%
Insect management recommendations                    89%
Weed management recommendations                      87%
Disease management recommendations                  72%
Nutrient credits for manure application                  55%

Tillage practices                                                      53%

Other services provided are hybrid and variety selection, equipment recommendations, and custom hire or employment recommendations. For those who pay for services on a per acre basis for their total farm (47% of users), 81 percent pay between $3.00-$5.00 per acre. For those who pay per acre on the partial farm (42% of users), 78 percent pay between $3.00-$5.00 per acre. Six percent of the users pay per service offered, and 3 percent pay a flat fee plus per acre charges for services.

Return for $1.00 Spent

Users were asked, "For every dollar you spend on your consultant, estimate how many dollars you receive in return." Almost three fourths (74%) of the respondents indicated they received a $2.00-$5.00 return for every $1.00 they invested in a crop consultant. Specifically, 30 percent indicated they received double their money, 10 percent triple, 12 percent quadruple, and 22 percent indicated they quintupled their investment.

Iowa counties represented in

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Sociology Extension Report 95-2 and IPM 43