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Special Tabulations

Published Data Resources

Requests for Special Tabulations are considered when the requested data are not published elsewhere. The Quick Stats agricultural data base should be investigated before requesting a special tabulation. The reports, related to these resources can be accessed from the Census of Agriculture and Publications pages.

Special Tabulations

Special tabulations are publishable, resummarized data tables from the Census of Agriculture or NASS surveys. The special tabulations differ from NASS published reports in the following ways:

  • Output is limited to a specific analytic purpose.
  • Output is created based on requested criteria.
  • Many Special Tabulations are based on census or survey data that use a specified set of assumptions. Tables using these assumptions are derived from the Census of Agriculture or NASS surveys and, when published, carry the appropriate disclaimers.
  • Questionnaires, methodologies, and technology have changed over time. This means that there are limitations for longitudinal requests.
Cost and Timing

Special tabulations must be scheduled so that they do not interfere with the requirements of NASS operational work. The cost and timing of delivery also depends on the level of complexity of the special tabulation. Some special tabulations may be done free of change. Fees for larger and more complex special tabulations are calculated based on the number of days required to complete the tabulation and disclosure review. Special tabulation requests are reviewed on an individual basis to determine what expertise, resources, and technology are needed to complete each tabulation. Most special tabulations can take from several weeks to months to complete.

Recent Special Tabulations

NASS maintains a list of completed special tabulations that includes a brief description of the tabulation and the requesting organization. Copies of completed special tabulations are available upon request by emailing SM.NASS.Data.Lab@usda.gov and providing the special tabulation ID.

Request a Special Tabulation

To request a special tabulation, the sponsor should provide a preliminary specification of the data needed using our online request form. NASS will then follow up and work with you to develop a final, detailed specification. When we have agreed on the specification, it is sent to our Data Access and Disclosure Review Board (DADRB) for consideration.

For general questions about special tabulations, contact the NASS Data Lab and Data Access Group at SM.NASS.Data.Lab@usda.gov.

Request Access to Restricted Microdata

Restricted Microdata Access

NASS allows eligible researchers the opportunity to gain access to restricted microdata files for select statistical research projects. NASS is responsible for protecting the confidentiality of its survey respondents. For this reason, prospective researchers commit to exclusively statistical uses of the data and data confidentiality must be considered before they are permitted access to NASS restricted data. Potential candidates must submit a research application. After receiving the application, NASS’s Data Access and Disclosure Review Board (DADRB) will assess the proposal for feasibility based on several factors including fitness for use and potential disclosure risk. The Data Lab Handbook contains policies and regulations that all researchers are required to follow.

Applying for Restricted Microdata Access

The application process for requesting access to NASS data is evolving. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 calls for the Federal government to establish a standard application process (SAP) through which agencies, the Congressional Budget Office, State, local, and Tribal governments, researchers, and other individuals, as appropriate, may apply for access to confidential microdata. In response, the federal statistical system is developing the SAP Portal at www.ResearchDataGov.org. The SAP Portal is a web-based data catalog and common application that will serve as a “front door” to apply for confidential data from any of the 16 principal federal statistical agencies and units for evidence building purposes. Beginning in December 2022, NASS and the other principal federal statistical agencies and units will begin transitioning applications to the SAP Portal. To learn more about the SAP, please visit the Standard Application Process Overview webpage. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the SAP catalog and NASS website to learn about available datasets. NASS Data Lab and Data Access Group staff are available to answer questions before submitting an application.

For general questions about access to restricted microdata, contact the NASS Data Lab and Data Access Group at SM.NASS.Data.Lab@usda.gov.

Applications requesting Census of Agriculture data for years 2007 or newer are required to provide a variable list. The list can be downloaded from this website and completed lists can be emailed to SM.NASS.Data.Lab@usda.gov with your SAP application number.

Eligibility and Access Modes

NASS will only consider applications from qualified researchers who are conducting academic research and affiliated with accredited colleges and universities in the United States, other non-profit U.S. organizations that conduct research, or research groups in U.S. Government organizations for purposes that serve the general public and contribute significantly to understanding the agricultural sector or the statistical procedures used by NASS to collect and summarize data. These data are not to be used for regulatory, enforcement, or investigative purposes. Requests by academic institutions must be made by a professor/advisor project lead; students are not permitted to be project leads. Non-citizens can apply for access to the data given they are affiliated with a US-based entity and that they pass a background check from the Department of Homeland Security.

Data access is accomplished through a data enclave. This is a secure cloud-based computing platform designed to promote collaboration, facilitate documentation, and provide information about data use to the agencies that own the data. The data enclave provides a secure environment for researchers to access data while administering confidentiality protections NASS is duty-bound to uphold. The access point for the enclave must be from the professional offices of the institution – university, state department, etc. – or a home-based office. The approved location is not mobile and will require a site inspection approved by the NASS Security Officer.

Fees and Invoicing

NASS does not charge researchers for use of our data. We do use the services of a data enclave provider, which provides a secure environment to researchers to access data while administering confidentiality protections. When your project is approved for access to NASS restricted microdata using a data enclave, you will be required to pay project setup and annual user fees to the data enclave provider for data enclave access. Invoicing is handled by the data enclave provider. Each data enclave account is non-transferrable and cannot be shared. Accounts within the data enclave are created for individual researchers. Projects can have more than one researcher. Each researcher will have a dedicated project space and access to a joint project space within the data enclave.


Data enclave fees depend on workspace performance configuration options and number of researchers. Effective October 2021, the fees for the data enclave are approximately $2,000-$2,200 for project setup plus $1,105 - $1,430 annually per user. These fees are subject to change.

Confidentiality and Disclosure

When collecting data, NASS makes a pledge of confidentiality to its respondents. This pledge promises that data collected are used for statistical purposes only. As a NASS sworn agent authorized to access and handle restricted NASS data, you are required to maintain the confidentiality of NASS data in accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of 2018, Title III of Pub. L. No. 115-435, codified in 44 U.S.C. Ch. 35. Penalties for a violation of CIPSEA procedures can result in a fine of up to $250,000 and/or five years in prison. Confidentiality training, confidentiality forms, and the Data Lab Handbook outline the policies and procedures that are required of you and your team to protect the data and prevent disclosure of confidential information. More information concerning confidentiality of NASS data collected for statistical purposes can be found here: Confidentiality Pledge.

When the researcher has completed work, NASS will conduct a disclosure review of all project outputs to ensure that data confidentiality is protected. The data enclave provider will facilitate your output clearance through NASS. Once cleared, the NASS Data Lab and Data Access Group will email you the outputs. Please contact the NASS Data Lab and Data Access Group at SM.NASS.Data.Lab@usda.gov if you have questions or concerns regarding the disclosure requirements for the data you are seeking.

Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts

CIPSEA protected data is not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. If you are interested in obtaining documents maintained by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), you will find information on accessing both FOIA and non-FOIA records on the REE Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Guide website.

Last Modified: 01/18/2023