By Christopher Mertz
Director, Northwest Region, National Agricultural Statistics Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is working with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to conduct a pilot nonirrigated cropland survey. The purpose of this pilot study is to provide supplemental data to FSA to help set Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rates as they pertain to share rent. With the potential adoption of this pilot into production, FSA could increase the precision of estimates in counties where share renting predominates and set annual CRP payment rates that more accurately reflect local market conditions.
The survey will sample a total of 1,500 respondents in three states—Washington, Texas and Arkansas. The timing of the survey follows a similar timeline as NASS’s current cash rent survey. The questionnaire was mailed to producers on March 1. Producers have the option of returning the questionnaire by mail or completing the questionnaire online. Producers that do not return the questionnaire will be contacted by telephone beginning March 16. Data collection is expected to end on May 11.
NASS’s Northwest Regional Field Office made efforts to reduce additional contacts to producers that may have been selected for other surveys during this time frame. Producers are asked to please take the time to complete the questionnaire as results from the survey have the potential to improve CRP in Washington state. Changes to the program are unlikely to be made without the use of additional information. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers had previously made requests to FSA and NASS to adequately represent land that is share rented into CRP payment rates. The efforts by NASS and FSA are a direct response to suggestions by the local producer organization.
All questions about the survey can be directed to Christopher Mertz, director, Northwest Region, at (360) 890-3300.