Over the next several weeks, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey tens of thousands of growers about their 2013 planting intentions. The results of this survey will help all participants in the agriculture sector determine what to expect this growing season after a drought-hampered 2012 season. In addition to grain growers, NASS will also survey thousands of pork producers about their hog and pig inventories and spring farrowing intentions.
"The information we collect from producers during the first two weeks of March establishes a trend that we're likely to see in the entire growing season," said Bob Bass, NASS' National Operations Division director. "This year, after a weather-plagued 2012 season, it's more important than ever to understand planting intentions for this year."
Most survey participants should have received their questionnaires in the mail this week, and can now respond via NASS's secure website or by filling out and mailing the forms back. Trained NASS interviewers will visit those who do not respond to answer any questions they may have and to help them fill out their survey forms.
"These surveys require a pretty quick turnaround so that the information is as current as possible," added Bass. "Not only do we publish the Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Hogs and Pigs reports on March 28, but we also recognize that farmers have a very busy time ahead of them and we want to let them get back to the task at hand as soon as possible."
As with all of its surveys, NASS keeps all individual responses confidential. The published reports will include only national and state aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operations can be identified.