AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.– Growers of small grains throughout the United States should have surveys from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in hand. The agency is taking a comprehensive look into the 2019 production and supply of small grains. This includes wheat, oats and rye.
“The small grains industry is a big player in agriculture and it is crucial for us to have accurate data about this key sector of the economy,” said NASS Southern Regional Director Jacqueline Moore. “We will contact close to 4,000 producers in the Southern region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) to accurately measure 2019 acreage, yield and production for small grains. The data collected from this survey will also help set small grain acreage and production estimates at the county level.”
Extension Uses NASS Information
Jessica Kelton, an Alabama Extension crops regional agent, said survey data helps Extension and university professionals prioritize research and outreach efforts in order to address what is most important to Alabama growers.
“We rely a great deal on these surveys to understand current production levels in the state,” Kelton said. “These surveys also really help us understand planting trends and forecasts in Alabama’s agricultural sector.”
Brittney Goodrich, an Alabama Extension economist, said it is important for USDA NASS to receive high response rates for these small grains surveys to ensure more accurate yield and acreage estimates. She said the more responses they receive from Alabama, the more representative the numbers will be for the entire state.
“Additionally, NASS will not publish some numbers if the response rates are too low,” said Goodrich, who is also an assistant professor in the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.
“Usually this omission occurs when looking at data for a specific county. But, it can happen at the state level for uncommon crops,” Goodrich said. “The bottom line is if farmers want to receive cost-free accurate yield and acreage information, they should participate in USDA NASS surveys.”
NASS will contact participants to gather information on their production and quantities of whole grains stored on farm. As an alternative to mailing the survey back, growers will have the option to respond online. A National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) enumerator may contact farmers who have not responded by Aug. 30 for a telephone or personal interview.
NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data. This ensures that no individual operation or producer can be identified.
Survey results will publish in several reports, including the annual Small Grains Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report. Both of these are scheduled to be released Sept. 30. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.
For more information, contact the NASS Southern Regional Field Office at (800) 253-4419. Farmers can also contact the Alabama Extension economist assigned to their county by visiting www.aces.edu.