USDA, NASS, Montana
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a USDA
agency, which collects agricultural information through a
broad program of sample surveys conducted throughout the
year. NASS has 46 Field Offices representing the states and
Puerto Rico. State departments of agriculture support NASS
with cooperative agreements, which are the foundation of
The USDA, NASS, Montana Field Office is located in Helena
and has 8 federal and 2 state employees. It is the main
agricultural data-gathering agency in Montana. The Montana
Field Office collects, compiles, and publishes current agricultural statistics. Its primary goal is to provide farmers, ranchers,
and the public with unbiased and reliable state and county-level
information to assist in production and marketing decisions.
In addition to farmers and ranchers, other data users include
farm organizations, agribusinesses, transportation firms,
state and national policy makers, and foreign buyers of agricultural
NASS contracts with the National Association of State Departments
of Agriculture (NASDA) to hire enumerators for data collection.
The Montana Field Office is a national data collection center
for NASS and employs approximately 156 part-time telephone
enumerators who collect survey information from respondents
in Montana and across the country. Additionally, the Field Office
has approximately 40 part-time field enumerators located
throughout the state who conduct personal interviews with
Montana farmers and ranchers.
Once the data is collected, analyzed, and summarized by
the USDA, NASS, Montana Field Office, it is submitted to
national headquarters in Washington, D.C. Commodity experts
review all state recommendations and issue state and national
estimates to the public on scheduled release dates throughout
the year. Cooperative agreements with state governments and
industry provide for additional estimates to be made at the
state and/or county level for some commodities.