A working group put together by American Farm Bureau Federation has released a series of recommendations for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS). The panel of Farm Bureau’s 10-member farmer Working Group held meetings and conducted interviews and produced recommendations that focus on technology improvements and better communication from the agency. But, the report also said that the validity of the agency’s reports hinges on farmers’ full participation in NASS’ data collection efforts.
Recent years have eroded farmers’ trust in the agency, as estimates of planted area, crop production, yields and inventory have had unwelcome effects on markets left farmers questioning the data’s reliability. The result is fewer farmers willing to participate in surveys for data collection, thus resulting in less accurate data. The working group’s recommendations outline steps the agency can take to restore trust from the industry.
The recommendations from the working group include:
- Increase transparency with the agricultural community
- Accelerate new and innovative technology adoption
- Increase collaboration with Farm Bureau to accomplish shared goals
- Strengthen NASS for U.S. agriculture
Farm Bureau believes the implementation of the above recommendations will go a long way toward improving the work already being done by NASS and strengthen the agency’s position as a reliable collector and distiller of agricultural data, which will benefit farmers and the industry as a whole. The working group’s final report and Executive Summary can be found here.