A new report suggests the Department of Agriculture should develop a new system for gathering information for crop reports and other surveys. USDA contracted with the National Academy of Sciences three years ago to audit how USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service collects data. The report highlighted that NASS could make several changes over time to improve the accuracy of its reports, as well as develop guidelines that make data collection more transparent and reproducible. Specifically, USDA asked the academy to look at how NASS does county-level crop estimates as well as cash-rent estimates. The report says a vision for NASS in 2025 should focus on changing the Agricultural Statistics Board to models that incorporate multiple data sources.
NASS uses multiple data sources through the board. However, the report says the current process is “inherently subjective and neither transparent nor reproducible.” A USDA NASS spokesperson called the report a “real opportunity” for improvements.
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