Wallaces Farmer

USDA to survey row crop acreage, production

Information provides statistics to assist all farmers in making informed business decisions.

Rod Swoboda

November 20, 2019

2 Min Read
man testing an ear of corn with mature cornfield in background
USEFUL INFORMATION: “Data collected by USDA provides timely, accurate information farmers can use to help make informed business decisions,” says Greg Thessen, with NASS.

USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service will soon survey producers in Iowa and other states for its annual County Agricultural Production Survey and its Dec. 1 Agricultural Survey. The surveys collect information on total acres planted and harvested this year, and total yield and production of row crops, as well as collecting information about grains and oilseeds stored on farms. 

“The data provided to us by producers will help federal and state programs provide support to farmers across the country,” says Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Upper Midwest regional field office, based in Des Moines, Iowa. “We hope every producer understands the importance of these data and will take the time to respond if they receive this survey.”

The information collected is helpful for farmers as USDA analyzes it and provides accurate statistics that assist farmers, among many others, in making informed business decisions, he adds. These vital data also affect farm policy, influence trade and the markets, as well as provide data for academic and historical research.

Accurate data helps farmers

Producers benefit when there are data available to help determine accurate USDA farm program loan rates, disaster payments, crop insurance price elections and more. “When enough producers respond to our surveys, NASS is able to publish accurate data,” Thessen says. “Without the data, agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency or Farm Service Agency may not have information on which to base the programs that serve those same producers.”   

Within the next few weeks NASS will contact selected Iowa growers to arrange telephone or in-person interviews to complete the surveys. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual farming operation or producer can be identified. This protection is required by federal law.

State- and national-level results from the Dec. 1 Agricultural Survey will be published in USDA’s Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks Report, both to be released Jan. 10. County-level results for corn and soybeans will be published on the NASS Quick Stats database at 2 p.m. Feb. 20. If you have questions about NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Upper Midwest regional office at 800-772-0825.

2019 Ag Stats book available

Thessen also announced the 2019 edition of Iowa Agricultural Statistics is now available. The 112-page reference book includes comprehensive data on Iowa grain and livestock production, commodity prices, farmland values and weather in 2018 compiled by the Iowa office of NASS. Additional information includes state rankings, farm production expenditures and county-by-county ag production statistics.

Copies of the book are available for $12 and can be ordered from the marketing and communications division of Iowa Farm Bureau, which funds the cost of producing this book each year. Checks should be made payable to Iowa Farm Bureau and sent with your order to Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50266.


About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda

Rod Swoboda is a former editor of Wallaces Farmer and is now retired.

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