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2010 Agri-Business Survey

Response Summary
Total Started Survey: 120
Total Completed Survey: 109 (90.8%)

Section I: Business Climate

1. How would you rate the current business climate for agriculture in Pennsylvania?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
  skipped question 5
Excellent 2.6% 3
Above Average 12.2% 14
Average 41.7% 48
Below Average 37.4% 43
Poor 5.2% 6
Refused/No Opinion 0.9% 1

2. In general, do you think business conditions for agriculture in Pennsylvania are better, the same, or worse than they were SIX MONTHS AGO?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
skipped question 5
Better 20.9% 24
Same 49.6% 57
Worse 29.6% 34
No Opinion 0.0% 0

3. LOOKING AHEAD SIX MONTHS, do you think business conditions for agriculture will be better, the same, or worse than they are now?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
skipped question 5
Better 18.3% 21
Same 60.9% 70
Worse 20.9% 24
No Opinion 0.0% 0

4. Are employment levels at your business higher, the same, or lower, than they were SIX MONTHS AGO?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 114
skipped question 6
Higher 10.5% 12
Same 64.0% 73
Lower 19.3% 22
No Opinion 6.1% 7

5. LOOKING AHEAD SIX MONTHS, do you anticipate that employment levels at your business will be higher, stay the same, or be lower?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
skipped question 5
Higher 8.7% 10
Same 72.2% 83
Lower 14.8% 17
No Opinion 4.3% 5

6. Has your business's revenue increased, stayed relatively the same, or decreased during the PAST SIX MONTHS?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 113
skipped question 7
Increased 29.2% 33
Same 38.9% 44
Decreased 28.3% 32
No Opinion 3.5% 4

7. Do you expect your businesss' revenue to increase, stay relatively the same, or decrease during the COMING SIX MONTHS?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 114
skipped question 6
Increase 23.7% 27
Same 56.1% 64
Decrease 17.5% 20
No Opinion 2.6% 3

8. How do you think Pennsylvania rates relative to other states in terms of costs that affect agricultural-related businesses (ie: taxes, regulatory costs, utility prices, labor costs, growth opportunities, infrastructure, etc.?)

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
skipped question 5
Excellent 0.9% 1
Above Average 20.0% 23
Average 35.7% 41
Below Average 31.3% 36
Poor 7.8% 9
No Opinion 4.3% 5

9. Do you plan to make any machinery or equipment purchases over the coming three months?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 111
skipped question 9
YES 27.0% 30
NO 51.4% 57
DON'T KNOW 16.2% 18
REFUSED/NO OPINION 5.4% 6

10. Do you plan to invest in any capital improvements, such as expanding or building new facilities, for your business over the coming three months?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 115
skipped question 5
YES 22.6% 26
NO 63.5% 73
DON'T KNOW 9.6% 11
REFUSED/NO OPINION 4.3% 5

11. If you answered "YES" to Question # 10, is the purpose of the capital improvement due to:

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 25
skipped question 95
Growth of Business 28.0% 7
Increased Efficiency of the Business 40.0% 10
Compliance with Regulatory Requirements 12.0% 3
Combination of the Above 20.0% 5
Other (please specify) Show Replies 3

12. Have you had to take any of the following actions to deal with the current economic recession:

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 67
skipped question 53
LAY OFF EMPLOYEES 31.3% 21
REDUCE EMPLOYEE WORK HOURS 41.8% 28
CLOSE OR CONSOLIDATE FACILITIES 11.9% 8
REDUCE PRODUCT LINES 13.4% 9
RAISE PRICES 35.8% 24
CUT PRICES 17.9% 12
CLOSE YOUR BUSINESS 1.5% 1
Other (please specify) Show Replies 9

13. What is your top business concern?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 109
skipped question 11
ACCESS TO CREDIT 15.6% 17
LOST SALES 30.3% 33
TAXES 14.7% 16
COST OF HEALTH CARE COVERAGE 22.9% 25
ENERGY COSTS 16.5% 18
Other (please specify) Show Replies 10

Section II: Issues

1. Thinking about dairy industry regulations in Pennsylvania as it relates to the pricing of milk,would you say state regulations need:

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 105
skipped question 15
A COMPLETE REVIEW 56.2% 59
SOME UPDATING 28.6% 30
NO CHANGES 1.9% 2
NO OPINION 13.3% 14

2. What are your thoughts on Dairy Pooling in Pennsylvania?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 103
skipped question 17
SUPPORT 100% DAIRY POOLING 6.8% 7
SUPPORT PARTIAL DAIRY POOLING 16.5% 17
OPPOSE DAIRY POOLING 3.9% 4
NO OPINION 72.8% 75

3. Have you heard about the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load)?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 105
skipped question 15
YES 82.9% 87
NO 16.2% 17
REFUSED 1.0% 1

4. If you have heard of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, do you think it is a threat to Pennsylvania agriculture?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 98
skipped question 22
SIGNIFICANT THREAT 33.7% 33
SOMEWHAT OF A THREAT 27.6% 27
NO THREAT 2.0% 2
DEPENDS ON HOW IT IS IMPLEMENTED 26.5% 26
NO OPINION 10.2% 10

5. What is the biggest challenge you have in complying with environmental regulations?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 93
skipped question 27
DIRECT COST OF PERMITTING (BMP INSTALLATION, ETC.) 18.3% 17
INDIRECT COSTS DUE TO INFLEXIBILITY 18.3% 17
INCONSISTENCY OF REQUIREMENTS BETWEEN JURISDICTIONS 26.9% 25
UNPREDICTABILITY 34.4% 32
SUPPLY OF QUALIFIED CONSULTANTS 2.2% 2
Other (please specify) Show Replies 5

6. Which of the following do you think is the most cost-effective way to further reduce nutrient and sediment runoff from Pennsylvania agriculture?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 99
skipped question 21
INSTALLATION OF RIPARIAN BUFFERS 10.1% 10
COVER CROPS 12.1% 12
NO-TILL 15.2% 15
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANNING WITH MANURE STORAGE 26.3% 26
ON-FARM MANURE TO ENERGY PROJECTS 7.1% 7
COMMUNITY-SCALE MANURE TO ENERGY PROJECTS 6.1% 6
'PRECISION FARMING' TECHNIQUES (GPS, ETC.) 3.0% 3
DIET AND FEED ADJUSTMENTS FOR LIVESTOCK 1.0% 1
NONE OF THE ABOVE (PA AG ALREADY DOES ALL IT CAN DO) 19.2% 19
Other (please specify) Show Replies 5

7. What is the most cost-effective way for government to assist farmers with environmental compliance?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 99
skipped question 21
COST-SHARING FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF PRACTICES 38.4% 38
TAX CREDITS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF PRACTICES 34.3% 34
INCREASING STAFF AT CONSERVATION DISTRICTS 5.1% 5
INCREASE CAPACITY OF COOPERATIVE EXTENSION 1.0% 1
COST-SHARING FOR PRIVATE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 6.1% 6
RESEARCH FOR NEW PRACTICES/TECHNOLOGY 10.1% 10
GROWTH OF NUTRIENT TRADING AND SIMILAR MARKETS 5.1% 5
Other (please specify) Show Replies 4

8. To address the deficiency in the unemployment compensation fund, do you think the payroll tax should be expanded to apply to the first $12,000 in pay (currently the tax applies to the first $8,000)?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 106
skipped question 14
YES 22.6% 24
NO 51.9% 55
REFUSED/NO OPINION 25.5% 27

9. Generally speaking, do you think land use and zoning decisions should remain in the hands of local government (cities, boroughs and townships), or should such decisions be made at the county or state level?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 106
skipped question 14
LOCAL LEVEL 51.9% 55
COUNTY LEVEL 29.2% 31
STATE LEVEL 12.3% 13
NO OPINION 6.6% 7

10. Do you think the decline in the number of farming operations in Pennsylvani is more a result of land development, or more the result of economic pressures?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 106
skipped question 14
LAND DEVELOPMENT 4.7% 5
ECONOMIC PRESSURES 36.8% 39
BOTH 58.5% 62
NO OPINION 0.0% 0

11. Do you think farmland preservation, or having government purchase farmland to preserve it as open space, is good public policy?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 103
skipped question 17
YES 66.0% 68
NO 29.1% 30
NO OPINION 4.9% 5

12. How would you rate Pennsylvania's laws in the following areas:

  answered question 105
skipped question 15
  EXCELLENT ABOVE AVERAGE AVERAGE BELOW AVERAGE POOR NO OPINION Response
Count
PROTECTING/IMPROVING WATER QUALITY 2.9% (3) 37.1% (39) 48.6% (51) 1.9% (2) 1.0% (1) 8.6% (9) 105
MANAGING FARM WASTES 4.8% (5) 40.0% (42) 40.0% (42) 2.9% (3) 1.0% (1) 11.4% (12) 105
CONTROLING ODORS & NOISES FROM NORMAL FARMING 5.7% (6) 32.4% (34) 46.7% (49) 1.9% (2) 1.9% (2) 11.4% (12) 105
REGULATION OF SELLING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS OVERSEAS 1.0% (1) 12.4% (13) 47.6% (50) 11.4% (12) 1.0% (1) 26.7% (28) 105

13. If a friend approached you about starting a farm anywhere in the USA, would you recommend Pennsylvania?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 106
skipped question 14
YES 50.9% 54
NO 32.1% 34
NO OPINION 17.0% 18

14. In marketing Pennsylvania to the nation's farm community, wich of the following would you highlight as the state's key assent? (Select only one)

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 104
skipped question 16
COST OF LAND 2.9% 3
COST OF LIVING 5.8% 6
QUALITY OF LIFE 45.2% 47
TAX RATES 1.9% 2
REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT 1.9% 2
LABOR CLIMATE 3.8% 4
INFRASTRUCTURE 26.9% 28
GROWTH POTENTIAL 11.5% 12

15. Which would your rate as Pennsylvania's biggest liability (Choose only one.)

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 105
skipped question 15
COST OF LAND 29.5% 31
COST OF LIVING 2.9% 3
QUALITY OF LIFE 1.0% 1
TAX RATES 18.1% 19
REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT 35.2% 37
LABOR CLIMATE 1.9% 2
INFRASTRUCTURE 3.8% 4
GROWTH POTENTIAL 7.6% 8

16. In what part of Pennsylvania is your business located?

  Response
Percent
Response
Count
  answered question 108
skipped question 12
NORTHWEST PA 3.7% 4
SOUTHWEST PA 2.8% 3
NORTHCENTRAL PA 10.2% 11
ALTOONA/JOHNSTOWN 3.7% 4
SOUTHCENTRAL/HARRISBURG 38.0% 41
SOUTHEASTERN 29.6% 32
LEHIGH VALLEY 3.7% 4
NORTHEASTERN 8.3% 9

17. Please feel free to comment on any issues of concern to you that were not covered in this survey.

  Response
Count
answered question 10
skipped question 110
Other (please specify) - Show Replies 10

Taking the Pulse of Pennsylvania