About Us

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.

For more information, contact us via email at nassrfoner@usda.gov.

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 operation.

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 regularly.

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.

Statistical Reports

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)
State-Level Reports

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.

Last Modified: 11/14/2019