National Ag Statistics Service

(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s catch up with Kyle and Joseph Prusacki to learn the mission of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from Kansas City. I have the opportunity to visit with Joseph Prusacki, he is the Director of National Ag Statistics. That is a Division of USDA. Let’s start with what does NAS do? (Joseph) A little clarification, I’m the Director of the National Operations Division within the National Agriculture Statistics Service, which is an agency within USDA. (Kyle) And what are you bound to do? (Joseph) Basically what USDA NAS, the National Agriculture Statistics Service mission is to provide timely, accurate and useful in-service to U.S. agriculture. And in your case Kansas agriculture. (Kyle) And it’s paid for by the taxpayers. Why is it important that the government provides this service? (Joseph) Well you’re correct that NAS has appropriated, has appropriated funds by Congress. And the question always does come up, why is the government in the business of collecting agriculture statistics? Well, let’s start with, I don’t know an adage, an old statement: If you can measure it, you can manage it. OK, so if the federal government is not out measuring, let’s say statistics for agriculture, who would be doing it? Well, OK, we have large agribusinesses, other entities that have the means to collect information, analyze the data and they would have the ability to understand what’s going on in terms of production, costs, expenses, distribution. And the typical producer may not be able to have that ability on their own. Well, what we do is we provide basically a level playing field, where the information is collected and it’s distributed for everyone, at the same time. (Kyle) And besides being able to buy and sell things, but a lot of agencies and foreign governments use your statistics in order that they can do planning, long term planning for long term investment as well. (Joseph) That’s exactly right. When you look at many of the farm programs that are in place now, many of them are administered by the Farm Service Agency. Well, a lot of what they do with many of the new programs that they have is use information that NAS collects. For example, probably right now many of the producers that are in Kansas are receiving what’s called our County Estimates Form. We’re trying to collect information and data so we can publish acreage yield production at the county level. And many of these new programs, these new farm programs are at the county level. And that provides information. Also, when you look at levels of production, you have other agencies like the World Agriculture Outlook Board. They’ll take NAS’s information, which is basically domestic information, they put it together with their information that they collect from around the world and they put out that monthly supply and demand estimate. And you were exactly right. There are a lot of individuals that look at that, United States, other countries – where’s the grain, where are the supplies of these types of commodities in order to meet commitments? (Kyle) We’re visiting with Joseph Prusacki, we’re in Kansas City. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Kyle will be back with Philip Karsting from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Services.

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