Two important surveys set county estimates for agriculture products

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds farmers that two of the larger and most important surveys are the annual Row Crops County Agricultural Production Survey and the December Agricultural Survey, the results of which are combined to set county average yields.

The more responses received by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) the better, and more accurate the data will be. If NASS does not receive enough reports, they cannot publish county estimates.

The Row Crops CAPS surveys about 5,000 farmers in Virginia to find out their acres planted, acres harvested and production of corn, soybeans, hay (alfalfa and other), tobacco (flue-cured, burley and dark fire-cured), cotton and peanuts. This survey is mailed on Nov. 16 and the data collection period goes through early January 2019.

The December Agricultural Survey asks an additional 1,500 Virginia farmers how many acres of crops they planted, how many acres they harvested and their yield per acre. This survey will be mailed on Nov. 16 and the data collected from Nov. 28 through Dec. 12.

When drought, excessive rain and flooding impact crop production, or even in a year with good yields, this data is crucial to the agriculture industry.

NASS’s county estimates are used with other USDA agencies’ estimate calculations to set standards for insurance and risk protection programs that many farmers rely on to protect their operations. Farm Service Agency relies on county-level estimates for Agricultural Risk Coverage, County Loan Rates, and its disaster program calculations. The Risk Management Agency uses the data for administering the Area Risk Protection Insurance Plan, and establishment of transitional yields.

Farmers may to respond to surveys via mail-in, telephone, face-to-face interviews, or reply online. Follow-up phone calls will begin on Nov. 28, if no response is received.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Herman Ellison in the Richmond office at (804) 771-8560 or

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