With the 2011 growing season now in full swing, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service will spend the first two weeks of June surveying over 5,000 farmers across Iowa to get a better indication of the production and supply of corn, soybeans and other major commodities for the year. The data collected will provide farmers and others involved in agriculture with better information for making marketing decisions for crops and livestock.
"Farmers are encouraged to participate in these surveys," says Greg Thessen, director of the NASS field office for Iowa, located in Des Moines. "Between May 28 and June 15, our representatives will visit selected areas in Iowa and conduct personal interviews with the operators of any farm on that land. Other farmers will also be contacted by mail or telephone to report on crop acreage, grain stocks and livestock inventories."
In March, farmers participating in the national USDA Planting Intentions survey reported that they intended to plant more acres to corn and fewer acres of soybeans in 2011. "Now, with much of the crop in the ground, we are reaching out to producers to find out what they actually planted as well as to update the amount of crops in storage and livestock inventories," says Thessen. "Together, this information will provide a comprehensive picture of how things are shaping up in 2011 for U.S. agriculture."
Farmers urged to participate in the early June USDA surveys
"Farmer participation in NASS surveys is critical because farmers as well as the entire agricultural community need accurate and reliable information to make sound production and marketing decisions," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "The information is also used extensively by state, local, and national leaders to address agricultural related issues that may impact producers."
By taking a few minutes to participate, the 5,000 selected farm operators in Iowa can help ensure the results are as accurate as possible. "The information NASS provides is only as good as the source it comes from, that's why we are counting on the most reliable, frontline source of data for our surveys, the producers themselves," says Thessen.
As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is protected by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. All reports are available on the NASS web site at www.nass.usda.gov. Upcoming NASS reports, based on data gathered from these surveys, and their release dates are: Quarterly Hogs & Pigs on June 24, Acreage and Grain Stocks on June 30, and Cattle on July 22. For more information regarding NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Iowa field office at 800-772-0825.
These surveys will provide insight for farmers on 2011 ag outlook
The June Agricultural (Crops/Stocks) Survey is one of the most important surveys conducted each year by USDA/NASS, says Thessen. It provides the first clear indication of the potential production and supply of major commodities for the year, including those from biotech varieties.
How are the data collected? The June Agricultural Survey is conducted annually in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. NASS will collect data from approximately 73,000 farms nationwide, which are selected from among the nation's 2.2 million farms. During the first two weeks of June, farm operators will be contacted and may respond using one of the following data collection methods:
* Telephone: Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) is the primary method.
* Mail: Participants fill out and mail back the questionnaire that was mailed to them.
* Internet: Secure, online reporting is the timeliest, most cost-effective option.
* Personal interviews: In some cases NASS representatives will conduct a personal, face-to-face interview.
The information collected about specific commodities varies somewhat from state to state. But all participating producers will be asked to provide information on their total acres, acres planted to specific commodities, and quantities of grains and oilseeds stored on-farm.
How is the information used? Once results of the survey are compiled and analyzed, NASS will publish the information in a series of reports. These include the annual Acreage report and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on June 30, 2011. Survey data also contribute to NASS's monthly and annual Crop Production reports, as well as the annual Small Grains Summary and USDA's monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
All sectors of the agricultural industry rely on NASS acreage, production and stocks estimates to help make sound business decisions. For instance:
* The annual Acreage report is one of the most anticipated sources of accurate and timely information for buyers when making critical business decisions regarding future contracts and purchases.
* The data level the playing field for farmers and ranchers, giving them access to the same information as elevators, input suppliers, bankers and others with whom they do business.
* The information assures international customers that the United States will continue to be a reliable supplier of major commodities and enables the industry to evaluate export potential.
* USDA data on the number of biotech acres planted in the United States, also published in the Acreage report, allow producers and analysts to discover growing trends in U.S. agriculture.
* Universities, Extension agents, private and government economists, the farm media and others depend on the data to help them analyze what's on the horizon.
The information provided by survey respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes data only in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.
All reports are available at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Ag Statistics Hotline at (800) 727-9540.