The Agronomic Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services strongly encourages its clients to choose online reports for soil tests and other agronomic services instead of receiving paper copies by mail.

The division is reducing expenses to deal with an expected state budget shortfall. Because all of the division’s agronomic reports are readily available online, the expense of printing and mailing paper copies to every client is no longer justifiable, said Colleen Hudak-Wise, director of agronomic services.

Agronomic reports are available electronically in a searchable database through the division’s Web site, www.ncagr.gov/agronomi/. Report cover sheets and other explanatory notes that normally come in the mail with paper reports are also available online. Online reports can be obtained more quickly than mailed copies, and supplementary materials are always up-to-date, Hudak-Wise said.

To opt out of receiving a paper report in the mail, customers must indicate they don’t need one. Customers should check the “Do Not Send a Report” box near the center of the page of most sample-information forms. If the form doesn’t contain a box, then the customer may write a note in the margin requesting not to receive a mailed report.

The division mailed more than 56,000 reports last year. Often, copies of a single report were mailed separately to both a client and an adviser. “With computer access becoming more prevalent, more clients have the ability to print their own reports,” Hudak-Wise said. “The division would prefer to mail paper copies only in cases of real necessity.”

Clients who want help looking up their reports may call the division at (919) 733-2655.

Currently, agronomic reports cannot be automatically e-mailed to clients. However, long-range plans to implement this feature are under way.