Who We Are and What We Do
Agricultural statistics are important by providing an accurate, unbiased
picture of the New England region and U.S. agriculture. Measurement of
present and prospective supplies furnishes a sound basis for judgment
and action by farmers, agri-businesses, researchers, marketing programs,
and agencies which service farmers who take the time to provide the data
to make these reports possible.
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a network of
46 field offices (including the New England office in Concord, NH) serving
all 50 states and Puerto Rico through cooperative agreements with state
departments of agriculture or universities. These field offices regularly
survey thousands of farm operators, ranchers, and agri-businesses who
voluntarily provide information on a confidential basis. Consolidating
these reports with field observations, objective yield measurements, and
other data, statisticians then produce state statistics. These statistics
are forwarded to NASS headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they are
combined and released to the public.
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As part of the USDA, the federal program includes the Census of Agriculture
conducted every five years and Annual Statistics Program. The Ag Census
publishes all agricultural commodities at the state and county level.
The Annual Statistics Program provides timely state level statistics limited
to major crop and livestock commodities and a few data series at the county
level. Confidentiality is guaranteed to anyone providing information to
NASS regardless if it is acting in the federal or state capacity. According
to federal law, the mail list is confidential and can never be given or
sold to any other entity, public or private (this includes other government
agencies). Individual data is exempt from requests under the Freedom of
Information Act and exempt from subpoena. Data is only published at an
aggregate level so that no one can derive information about any single
Annual Statistics Program
About 400 national reports are issued by NASS every year through the Agricultural Statistics Board. These national reports are complemented by about 125 state reports. Each report is released on a fixed schedule according to an annual calendar of release dates. Strict security measures are maintained to ensure that no one gains premature access to the information. The reports provide broad coverage of agriculture, including more than 165 crop and livestock items.
The annual cycle of crop reports begins with projections of the acreage that farmers intend to plant, and continues with reports of acreage planted, acreage intended for harvest, probable yields, and potential production. Final reports of acreage harvested, actual yields, and production are made at the end of the crop production season.
Livestock inventory numbers are published annually or semiannually. Details
on hog production, cattle on feed, production of eggs, milk, and meat
are issued in monthly and quarterly reports. Reports on breeding, farrowings,
chick and poult placements, and calf and lamb crops provide indications
of prospective market supplies. Measurements of manufactured dairy products
and cold storage holdings of agricultural commodities are also published
NASS also collects and publishes statistics on a variety of additional
subjects pertaining to agriculture as part of the Annual Statistics Program.
These include number and sizes of farms, farm labor and wage rates, prices
received and paid by farmers, grain stocks, greenhouse and nursery production,
fruits and vegetables, fertilizer and pesticide usage, mushrooms, mink,
trout, plus many other commodities grown or raised in specialized areas
of the country, as well as weekly crop and weather bulletins.
Census of Agriculture
The national Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years. In some
ways it resembles the population census which most Americans are familiar
with, because the Census of Agriculture attempts to produce a complete
quantification of all agricultural items and activities nationwide, just
as the population census attempts to count and collect data about every
man, woman, and child in this country. For more than 150 years, the U.S.
Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, conducted the Census of
Agriculture. However, the 1997 Appropriations Act transferred the responsibility
from the Bureau of the Census to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The 1997 Census of Agriculture
is the first census conducted by NASS.
The census of Agriculture is the leading source of statistics about the
Nation's agricultural production and an important source of consistent,
comparable data at the county, State, and national levels. Census statistics
are used by Congress to develop and change farm programs, study historical
trends, assess current conditions, and plan for the future. Many national
and State programs use census data to design and allocate funding for
extension service projects, agricultural research, soil conservation programs,
and land-grant colleges and universities. Private industry uses census
statistics to provide a more effective production and distribution system
for the agricultural community.
In keeping with the provisions of Title 7 of the United States Code, no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual farm. However, the number of farms reporting an item is not considered a release of confidential information and is provided even though other information may be withheld.
The Census of Agriculture is published in various forms including: national,
state and county level data; state and county rankings; agricultural atlas;
zip code tabulations; and congressional district tabulations and rankings.
Special studies that are also part of the census program include the Farm
and Ranch Irrigation Survey, the Census of Horticultural Specialties and
the Census of Aquaculture.
The New England Agricultural Statistics Field Office operates through
a cooperative agreement between USDA and each of the six states that compromise
the New England region; Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Rhode Island, and Vermont. The New England Field Office is responsible
for agricultural statistics in all six New England states and is centrally
located in Concord, NH.
The New England Field Office publishes several state-level reports which are accessible on the Internet and through free e-mail subscriptions. Mailed hard copies are also available by subscription. These reports include:
- Weekly Crop Weather Reports on crop development (Published May through October)
- Agricultural Review are monthly reports about crops, livestock, poultry, farm labor and other agricultural items (Published at the end of each month)
- Cash receipts statistics describing income received by farmers for commodities sold (Published in September)
- Maple Syrup production and prices (Published in June)
- Massachusetts Cranberry production forecasts, final acreage, production and prices (Published in August and January)
- Maine potato acreage, yield, size and grade report and a biennial chemical usage report (Published in December and March, respectively)
- Maine Wild Blueberry production forecasts, final production and prices (Published in August and January)
- Our Annual Bulletin includes estimates published by the field office during the year and presents ten years of data for most series. Special features are included such as county data from the most recent Census of Agriculture, farm population statistics and more (Published in March)
In an effort to reduce administrative and postage costs,
we ask that you consider obtaining these state-level publications from
the Internet. However, free subscriptions to the hard-copy reports listed
above are available to farmers and agri-businesses that provide data to
this office. The news media, state and local governments, and educational
institutions are also eligible for these reports at no charge. All others
must pay a user fee as a described in the State-Level subscription form.
If you still want a hard copy of these free state-level publications,
please use the subscription form.
How to contact the New England Field Office:
By phone: (603) 224-9639
By fax: (603) 225-1434
By mail: 53 Pleasant St Room 2100
Concord, NH 03301
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org