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Falling Response Rates to USDA Crop Surveys: Why It Matters


USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts a series of surveys throughout the year to assess farmer planting decisions and production conditions. Among other things, those surveys use farmer responses to estimate crop acreage and yields and provide early information on likely production outcomes for various crops in the current crop year. Those estimates underlie USDA and private analysis that affect markets throughout the year. The public benefits of those surveys are notable, and the literature on those benefits was recently reviewed by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE), which highlighted how public information on market prices and quantities helps improve market efficiency (Lusk, 2013).

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