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Project Title:

Improving Data Collection and Reporting about Agriculture with Increasingly Complex Farm Business Structures
PIN: DBASSE-CNSTAT-15-14        

Major Unit:

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Sub Unit: Committee on National Statistics

RSO: Mackie, Chris

Subject/Focus Area: Agriculture; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Surveys and Statistics

Project Scope
An ad hoc panel will review, assess, and make recommendations for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, on effective methods for collecting data and reporting information about American agriculture given the changes and increased complexity in farm business structure. Although the vast majority of today's farms continue to be run by a single operator or by spousal partners, the large farms that produce a substantial percentage of the nation's food tend to have more complex business structures. The panel will take into consideration the effect any changes in concepts and data collection practices could have on the number of farms and the reliability of sector finance and performance indicators. Specifically, the panel will

·       review existing information about the structure of U.S. farms, and how the information is collected, reported, and used. 

·       seek to identify best practices for accounting for multi-unit operations and operations that are vertically integrated, both on the farm register and in data collection and estimation, while ensuring sufficient coverage and reliable estimates in the face of increased farm concentration.

·       seek to identify best practices for identifying and collecting information about ancillary or “value-added” economic activities  that may be associated with a farm (such as agri-tourism, making and selling wine, jellies, or cheese, etc.).

·       examine the concept of the “farm operator” under different business structures (particularly the practice of attempting to identify one primary operator of a farm household) and the effects of a change in concept on the subsequent estimates of farm household finances and existing data series. 

 The panel will produce a final report with findings and recommendations at the conclusion of the study.

Project Duration: 36 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 10/31/2016
 Meeting 2 - 02/10/2017
 Meeting 3 - 05/24/2017
 Meeting 4 - 09/11/2017
 Meeting 5 - 12/13/2017
 Meeting 6 - 03/26/2018


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