The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is gathering information about production practices from farmers and ranchers across the nation through the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey. NASS is collecting data from both farm operators and landlords who are not farm operators to create a complete picture of farm costs, land ownership, demographics about farm operators and landlords, and improvements made to farmland and buildings, among other characteristics. The results of this survey will serve as the primary source of information for numerous federal policies and programs that affect U.S. farms and farm families.
“Accurate data are key to better decision-making,” said Vic Tolomeo, Director of the NASS Pacific Regional Office. “By responding to TOTAL this year, regional farmers ensure that decisions impacting them are based on accurate real-life information.”
TOTAL is a part of the Census of Agriculture program, which means response to this survey is mandatory. The TOTAL survey program is conducted jointly with NASS and USDA’s Economic Research Service. In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, more than 80,000 farmland owners and producers nationwide, including 3,100 in California, and 120 in Nevada, received TOTAL forms.
“We realize that this survey is lengthy and some producers may have questions or need clarification,” explained Tolomeo. “Through mid-April, our interviewers are reaching out to those farmers who have not yet responded to answer questions and help them fill out their questionnaires.”
In addition to accurate data, NASS is strongly committed to confidentiality. Information provided by respondents is confidential by law. The agency safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.
NASS will publish results of the TOTAL survey in its Quick Stats database in August 2015. Quick Stats is available online at quickstats.nass.usda.gov. The economic data gathered will also be published by NASS in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on August 5, 2015. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.