Prepare your eyes for brutal honesty. Farmers tend to complain about and/or disagree with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Ag Statistic Service data more often than not, but very few actually do something about it, like cooperate.
South Dakota is among the worst and whatever the reasons are for low participation, the trend needs to change. This is not a poker game. This is not “big brother” at play. Your survey is private and personal data is not tracked.
This blog isn’t intended to pick on people; it’s to encourage farmers to do the right thing. The data being sought by NASS is crucially important and can have major influence in a farm’s bottom line when it comes to personal marketing/investment decisions, planting decisions, domestic and global market development opportunities, benchmarking sustainability and farm program payments.
“We need to look in the mirror and take it upon ourselves to give NASS the best data available without pointing the finger at others,” said South Dakota Corn Growers Association president Keith Alverson. “Farmers including myself are ultimately responsible for quality of information published by NASS.”
Now with fall harvest wrapping up, NASS will be conducting year-end production surveys, which are among their most consequential. South Dakota Corn urges all farmers to invest a few minutes and properly participate.
“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s South Dakota State Statistician Erik Gerlach. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States and grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”
The information will be compiled, analyzed and then published in a series of USDA reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and quarterly Grain Stocks report to be released January 12.
“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county yields,” explained Gerlach. “USDA uses county yield information from the survey to evaluate and administer vital farm disaster mitigation and insurance programs such as Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). Farmers who receive this survey should use this opportunity to assure their county is accurately represented in the calculation of South Dakota county yields.”
As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential, as required by federal law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.