Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

AFBF Makes Recommendations to Improve USDA NASS Data Collections

News / Newsline January 21, 2021

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The American Farm Bureau Federation released a report Thursday detailing how USDA NASS can improve accuracy and farmer confidence in survey results. Micheal Clements shares what the recommendations are.

Clements: A Farm Bureau Working Group presented its findings Thursday, suggesting improvements to how USDA NASS can quickly and accurately collect data. With the significant weather events over the last few years, NASS has made large changes to crop estimates, causing wild swings in the market. AFBF Economist Shelby Myers says this led to farmers questioning the ability to respond quickly to rapidly changing conditions.

Myers: At our 101st annual convention in early 2020, the voting delegates recommended that the AFBF board of directors convene a Farm Bureau-led coalition of our members to review and make suggested improvements to USDA NASS’s data collection and reporting methodology.

Clements: Myers says the working group considered input from the entire agriculture industry.

Myers: The ten-member farmer working group held monthly meetings and conducted more than a dozen interviews with staff and leadership from government, trade associations, market analysis firms and land grant universities. In the end, the working group developed a series of recommendations for the agency that focused on technology improvements and better communication from the agency.

Clements: The working group made four recommendations.

Myers: The first being increased transparency with the agriculture community, being more forthcoming about how information is collected, reviewed, audited and reported. The second is to accelerate new and innovative technology adoption so that NASS has access to the best resources, information, data, software, talent and networks. The third is to increase collaboration with Farm Bureau to accomplish our shared goals. And finally, strengthen NASS for U.S. agriculture. If we can implement these recommendations, it would go a long way toward improving the great work already being done by NASS and strengthen the agency’s position.

Clements: Find the final report on the Market Intel page at fb.org. Micheal Clements, Washington.

Read the full AFBF USDA-NASS Working Group Report here

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