Understanding Statistics

NASS Surveys: The Foundation of Estimates - List Frame Samples

A different sampling technique is needed for surveys in which the commodity to be estimated is highly concentrated within a comparatively small area, such as cattle in feedlots, hogs, poultry, potatoes, or rice. Estimates of these commodities demand a higher degree of precision than samples from the area frame can provide. Therefore, samples for these types of surveys are drawn from a list frame consisting of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of producers and agribusinesses, grouped by size and type of unit.

Surveys that rely on the list frame can cost less than those done with the area frame, if the data can be collected largely by mail or over the phone; area frame sampling requires face-to-face interviews.

NASS keeps the list frame as complete as possible, especially for the larger producers, by obtaining records for new or omitted operations from other USDA lists, producer association lists, and other sources.

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Last Modified: 05/04/2018