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A Lifetime of Statistics

Posted by Joseph T. Reilly, Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
May 06, 2014

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for numbers and statistics. That’s why I’ve dedicated the last 39 years of my life to this amazing field.

I earned my degree in statistics in 1975 and shortly after that joined the U.S. Census Bureau, where I worked for 21 years.  At the Census Bureau, I had a really diverse experience, having worked on crime, housing, economics, and labor statistics, before ending up with the Census of Agriculture team. It was when this team transitioned to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in 1997 that I joined my new home away from home at USDA.

While at NASS, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various areas over the years. My goal was always to contribute as much as possible to ensure that NASS remains the lead in agricultural statistics. So it is with great pride that I take on my new position as the NASS administrator.

This is an exciting time for NASS. As many may know, we have recently undergone a major reorganization in order to streamline and modernize our operations. Our staff has successfully switched to a more regional structure, but now it’s time for the next phase of this transition:  focusing on improving our processes to make them more effective and efficient.

The world of statistics also does not stand still. Statistical methodology keeps evolving to make the data more accurate and reliable than ever before. That means that NASS needs to stay ahead of the curve on new developments to remain at the forefront of the statistical field.

Internally, there are also many opportunities at NASS. After 17 years at the agency, I can honestly say that I have never worked with a more capable and talented group of individuals. But the past several years have been a difficult period for all federal employees, which is why my goal is to ensure that we maintain a high level of employee engagement.

Above all, however, my goal is to ensure that NASS can remain true to its goal of providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.

Joseph T. Reilly takes the reins of NASS as its new Administrator, continuing his leadership in agricultural statistics.
Joseph T. Reilly takes the reins of NASS as its new Administrator, continuing his leadership in agricultural statistics.
Category/Topic: Research and Science