Last Call for Responses as NASS Winds Down the Data Collection Phase of the 2017 Ag CensusTue, 17 Jul 2018 11:15:07 CDT
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is wrapping up data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers who have not yet responded still have until the end of July to complete the Census online through the secure website found on the cover of their Census form. Phone follow-up and personal interviews will also continue through July for producer convenience. As this initial phase of the 2017 Ag Census concludes, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) Regional Director for the Southern Great Plains Will Hundl, who is primarily responsible for data collection in both Oklahoma and Texas. He discussed the process under which this data is compiled and the importance behind it. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“We’ve been working since the first part of May to get the responses across the counties up to about a 70 to 75 percent rate,” he said, adding that response to this edition of the census has actually been high in our region compared to others, though there are still those out there that need to be collected. “So, our hard date now is July 31st. We’ve got to have everything in and accounted for so we can move into our second phase of the census.”
That next phase will officially begin on August 1st when NASS shifts gears from data collection to data analysis. During this phase, the integrity of the information collected across all commodities will be confirmed to ensure the accuracy of the data that will eventually be funneled into a final report scheduled for release during the first week in February 2019. Hundl says the information in this census is used by virtually everyone in the industry in one way or another and is integral in shaping the different programs and policies at the USDA and beyond.
“It is the most comprehensive data set, covering every aspect of agriculture. The Census measures who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re doing it and how we’re doing it,” he remarked. “So, it really defines some of the programs that USDA develops to help meet the needs of the agriculture industry.”
Hundl insists that every response counts in this census. He encourages producers who have not yet responded to do so as soon as possible before the July 31st deadline, by phone or via the internet. He reiterates that anyone with an agricultural operation that generates $1,000 or more annually qualifies as a legally defined farm and should participate. If you have not responded yet but would like to, click here for more information regarding the 2017 Ag Census and how to participate.
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