Vegetables Survey

The Vegetable surveys provide acreage planted and harvested, yield production, disposition, utilization, price, and value for 27 vegetable commodities in 38 of the 50 states. Some surveys are used for production forecasts, while others are used to derive end of season estimates.

The Vegetable surveys collect data in the major producing states for each respective commodity. States with a small number of growers survey all known commercial producers of vegetable commodities. States with a large number of producers contact a sample of the growers to get production data. Sampling may still result in a census for some vegetables.

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Program Content

The vegetable program is complex in that some crops are used for processing only, some are fresh market only, and others are dual purpose crops (both processing and fresh market). Data are collected for planted and harvested acreage, yield, production, disposition, market year average price, and total crop value. In addition, processing and dual purpose crops are further divided into canning and frozen utilizations.

Vegetable processors are surveyed the first week of April for their intended acreage of vegetables for processing and the first week of July for acreage contracted. Mid-season surveys of processors (Peas, July 1; Snap Beans, Sweet Corn and Tomatoes, September 1) are conducted to forecast crop production. In the fall, processors are asked for final acreage harvested, yield production, and value for the above crops. California tomato processors are surveyed separately for intended acreage, preliminary acreage, and acreage, production, and price. Processors of asparagus, an early season crop, are surveyed for acreage in April.

For fresh market vegetables, growers are surveyed seasonally for estimates of crops such as onions and strawberries. Producers growing multiple fresh market crops are surveyed at seasonal intervals in major producing states for the remaining vegetable crops in the program.


These estimates provide vital statistics for growers, processors, and marketers to use in making production and marketing decisions. Vegetable industry sources use these data to track production levels for the industry. Federal and State agencies use the annual summary when developing and appraising government programs affecting the vegetable industry. Survey results are used by the Economic Research Service (ERS) for the July Vegetables Situation and Outlook Yearbook and for the Vegetables and Melons Outlook, released electronically every other month. Allied industries such as container manufacturers, chemical manufacturers, and plant breeders use the data in feasibility studies. These studies are used to assess the economic impact of products, define market size and location. Data have been provided to foreign governments interested in U.S. vegetable production and to extension specialists at land grant universities.

Vegetable data provide information to assist the Agricultural Marketing Service in the administration of market orders for tomatoes, celery, onions, lettuce, and melons. The office of the U.S. Trade Representatives, Executive Office of the President, uses the data to help administer their Generalized System of Preferences Program, a program to determine preferred imports from other countries. Products, such as fresh tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers, squash, watermelons, and onions are import sensitive and the North American Free Trade Agreement provides added protection against import surges of products while tariffs are being phased out.


Vegetable data are collected six times during the year. Acreage forecasts are obtained on a quarterly basis for fresh market and processing vegetables. A separate processing production forecast is conducted in September and the annual summary is completed at the end of season.


Questionnaire content, survey timetables, and survey administration are state specific. Data are gathered by telephone interviews, mail-out/mail-back, faxed questionnaires, and personal interviews. Data accuracy and reducing respondent burden are taken into account in conducting the surveys. The most desirable method is to do a complete enumeration of growers. When this is not possible, a mail inquiry is sent to a sample of growers. Because of the variable nature of the vegetable industry, mail lists are frequently updated to ensure complete coverage.

Related Programs

Vegetable Chemical Use

Post Harvest Chemical Use

Last Modified: 04/17/2024