Ask FSA Andy about county surveys


Hello again,

I hope that harvest has been plentiful and you and yours are ready for a wonderful holiday season.

Since most of the field work is wrapping up, most of us are ready to head indoors. I wanted to give you a heads up about something some of you may be getting in the mail.


USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be conducting two important surveys this fall/winter: the County Agricultural Production Survey and the December Agricultural Survey.

This looks like something you might be tempted to throw in the trash. But please, open it and fill it out.

This is your one chance every year to give the USDA the best local information about what really goes on in your county.

Data from both surveys will be used to establish final 2017 county average yields for corn and soybeans.


Many USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA), use the NASS yield data for their programs.

FSA uses NASS county yield data for farm credit, conservation, disaster programs, loan and commodity programs.

Under the 2014 farm bill, FSA uses the NASS county yield data to calculate Agriculture Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) benchmark revenues and current year county revenues.

For example, the 2016 NASS county yield, along with the crop’s marketing year average price are used to determine the county’s current year revenue to decide if the county will trigger an ARC-CO payment.

An ARC-CO payment is triggered for a county when the current year revenue falls below the guarantee revenue for the crop and crop year.

In cases where NASS county yield data is not available, the FSA State Committee must determine a county yield using RMA yield data or the best available yield data, including assigning a county yield using neighboring county yields from NASS or RMA.


Randomly selected farmers will receive a questionnaire in the mail. If you prefer technology to snail mail, NASS offers a secure online response system.

Responding online is the easiest, fastest and safest way to complete the survey and it saves taxpayer dollars.

Farmers can also respond by mail, telephone, or personal interview. If NASS does not get enough responses for a county, then the county yield will not be published.

The deadline for reporting on the December Agricultural Survey is Dec. 15, and the County Agricultural Production Survey due date is Jan. 12.

So please, if you happen to be a lucky recipient of a NASS Survey, go ahead and fill it out. If you need any help with the information on the survey, feel free to call your local FSA office.

Don’t worry as all the information is confidential and no names are ever released or associated with the information that is reported.

NASS publishes only aggregate-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. All reports will be available at

Thanks in advance for your help with this little project, and as always have a wonderful week!

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy


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