August 5, 2020
Dear Specialty Crop Grower,
I am writing to you today to request your assistance with a study about the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on specialty crop operations and markets. Our purpose is to examine how different groups of stakeholders within specialty crops have been affected, and how different value chain channels were disrupted. For this study specialty crops are vegetables, potatoes, melons, fruit, nuts, berries, flowers, bedding crops, nursery crops, food crops grown under protection, propagative materials, and mushroom crops. Ultimately, the intentions of this study are to generate new knowledge that will guide future extension outreach activities, and to quantify the impact in terms of production losses and reduction in sales. This project is being led by researchers in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University with internal support.
We realize that your time is valuable and hope you consider participating in this study. To show our appreciation we offer a $10 e-gift card to the first 200 eligible participants. Eligible participants are owners and/or leading operators of specialty crop businesses within the state of Ohio, who choose to inform name and email address at the end of the questionnaire. Participating in this study means sharing your personal experience while playing the role of a leading agribusiness owner/operator. The questionnaire is available through OSU Qualtrics by clicking this link. Qualtrics is a world-class service provider that offers a secure line for internet-based surveys. Numerous universities across the country use Qualtrics to distribute surveys and collect valuable research data. Ohio State, Cornell, Stanford, Notre Dame, Purdue, and University of Illinois are some of the universities using Qualtrics.
The questionnaire is also available in paper format. If you prefer to participate using a paper-based questionnaire, do not hesitate to contact me and I will send you a hard copy of the questionnaire. The envelope will include a consent form with additional details about this study, the questionnaire, and a prepaid return envelope. Please make sure to sign and return the consent form along with the filled questionnaire if you decide to take part in this study. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (614) 292-3871, or by postal mail at 2001 Fyffe Rd., 225 Howlett Hall, Columbus, OH, 43210. If you have questions about this study, I will be most happy to answer.
Guil Signorini, PhD – Assistant Professor / Research Scientist Department of Horticulture and Crop Science College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University
You may also contact Gigi Neal, OSU Ag & Natural Resources Extension Educator, Clermont County at email@example.com or 513-732-7070 or Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, OSU South Centers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-289-3727.