American Farm Bureau panel offers suggestions to improve NASS data
The American Farm Bureau Federation has given USDA some suggestions to improve National Ag Statistics Service reporting.
Shelby Myers with Farm Bureau says their delegates voted to look at how NASS collects and distributes agricultural data, and why some large changes in data happen, impacting markets, especially in bad-weather years. “Over the last few years, NASS has made changes to estimates of planted area, crop yields, and inventory levels that have caused wild swings in the markets and these are why farmers question the agency’s ability to respond quickly to the rapidly-changing conditions on the ground.”
Myers tells Brownfield the ten-member panel encouraged the agency to accelerate new technology adoption and increase collaboration with other stakeholders including Farm Bureau, “encouraging lawmakers to provide the funding that NASS needs to upgrade its technology and hire and retain that top-notch staff that it requires.”
Myers says increased transparency between the agency and the agricultural community is important. “We would like to see NASS be more forthcoming about how information is collected, reviewed, audited, and reported and then improve the communication on the report’s findings and NASS’ confidence in those findings.”
Myers says Farm Bureau discussed the report with the agency before it was released, and says NASS is on board with similar goals and looking forward to working with stakeholders to improve data reporting.