The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has released a report with recommendations for the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). AFBF has taken an in-depth look at the methodology used for NASS reports and suggests updates to increase accuracy and transparency. The AFBF USDA-NASS Working Group Report details key areas where survey collection and data reporting could be improved.
“While NASS may have a gold standard reputation for agriculture statistics globally, U.S. farmers’ confidence in their reports has unfortunately declined,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “We hope the work done by this group will provide a framework for USDA to make timelier adjustments to these key reports and restore trust in the data we’ve relied upon for so long.”
Ten farmer members spent more than four months working on the report as part of the USDA-NASS Working Group. The working group carefully went over the approach taken to compile NASS reports. Two significant points highlighted in the report recommend increased transparency with the agricultural industry and increased collaboration. AFBF suggests NASS help industry members understand how crop reports are compiled and denote major revisions made between crop estimates. Better communication and coordination with industry groups, as well as land-grant universities, will allow better understanding and identification of areas that can be improved.
AFBF also recommends accelerating new and innovative technology adoption to better refine the reporting process. Increases in the use of digital tools in the farming sector helps to provide more precise data and should aid NASS in report accuracy. The report suggests better funding support for NASS to incorporate all the latest tools available to acquire the most up-to-date, and accurate crop data possible. AFBF also reiterates its commitment to working with NASS to help make improvements that will ultimately benefit the industry as a whole.