This issue of AgProfessional is the issue of the magazine being evaluated in a readership survey. Each year a random selection of readers are chosen to be surveyed.

If you receive a call or e-mail, please take time to evaluate the March issue and also share your feelings about the electronic/digital communications that come from us.

The life blood of any publication is the advertising income, and advertisers use annual reader surveys of publications to determine where they are going to invest their advertising dollars.

Advertisers also learn from the survey how they can better connect with their target audience. What can they do that is more enticing for you to make a purchase or at least get you to stop and read the ad copy/message? Maybe the copy or artwork could be more poignant.

While talking about surveys, it reminds me that next month’s issue of AgProfessional will have some of the basic information gathered in the survey of Agricultural Retailers Association members.

The ARA survey was conducted at the end of 2011, and the results have now been professionally analyzed and compiled. The full report is available for purchase by contacting ARA at (202) 457-0825.

There was an incentive offered for completing the survey. Money could be used to offset part of the cost for the respondent’s attendance at the 2012 ARA annual meeting in San Diego, Calif., or money could be designated for an ARA contribution to the 4-H Council or the FFA Foundation. You’ll see a fairly nice amount of money was able to be donated to 4-H and FFA by seeing the photos in the ARA board meeting report in this issue.

I attended the ARA board meeting in Washington, D.C., to hear speakers talk about a wide variety of topics pertinent to the agricultural industry. There was a huge amount of current legislative and agency information presented. I provided a short synopsis of a main point from each presentation in ARA pages 28 to 30.

From that meeting and continuing with the survey theme, one of the presenters at the board meeting quoted survey results about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), mainly why the equipment isn’t being properly used. She quoted surveys that indicate 40 percent to 60 percent of private certified applicators do not use the proper PPE.

Kim Faulkner, Ph.D., with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) explained findings about why proper PPE is not used and that additional types of surveying and fact gathering is continuing to accumulate additional information on how to increase compliance.

Some of the findings on why proper PPE isn’t used includes the lack of knowledge of what PPE meets labeling, difficulty of obtaining the right PPE, workers unwilling to accept use of equipment, product labels written to nearly hide the PPE needed, requirements on labels written in something other than plain English, too much time to put PPE on and the expense of stocking and replacing the exact equipment needed in different situations.

One last mention about surveys is my request that all our ag retailer managers respond if they receive our “Salary Survey” e-mail. Colleen Scherer, managing editor of AgProfessional, annually compiles data about the salaries and benefits paid employees. Worthwhile information depends on a good response. Any specific company information is kept confidential other than the region of the country where the response was generated. The Salary Survey e-mail should arrive near the time you receive this issue of AgProfessional.