By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net
During the first two weeks of June, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey nearly 140,000 U.S. producers for their annual June surveys on crops and livestock. NASS National Operations Center director Bob Bass said the surveys are conducted because it is important to measure the actual acreage to be planted in the spring crops. These surveys make it a busy time for Bass and NASS.
“In addition to that, we are busy measuring the amount of grain stored on the farm and in commercial facilities because it affects the supply of grain,” Bass said. “We also do our quarterly hog report to get the inventories of hogs and weight groups and measure intentions of producers to have their sows farrowed in the next two quarters. The cattle and calves survey around July 1 gives an inventory number by class and also calf crop expectations.”
Bass said those four are combined during the month of June to provide a complete picture of what’s happening in U.S. agriculture. NASS selects a very precise sample of producers, according to Bass, with each producer selected for a particular commodity. He said producers generally are in one survey, not all four.
Farmers make decisions every day that affect their businesses and these surveys help farmers make the right decision for their operation by giving them the most complete, timely and accurate information they need.
“This is all information that will help a farmer better make decisions that will affect their operation,” Bass said. “Whether it is to hold grain on the farm or to buy some calves, all of those decisions are better made when we have a clear, accurate and timely picture.”
Bass says the surveys are used in a number of ways, including transportation, processing, marketing channels, exporting, importing and more. The surveys are so beneficial to the agricultural community because they help take some of the risk out of the market.
“The information these surveys provide puts those that produce food and fiber on the same level as those that are going to be purchasing it,” Bass said. “When the playing field is level, risk is reduced. Anytime we can reduce that risk, that is a good thing for agriculture and it introduces a lot more efficiency.”
NASS encourages farmers to watch for their survey and to respond to the survey because every piece of information matters.