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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Today is World Statistics Day and countries all around the world are celebrating the impact accurate statistics have on their lives. Here at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) we take pride in our long tradition of working with our counterparts around the globe. Not only are we actively networking with other United Nations member states, but we also partner with Canada and Mexico to cooperatively publish statistics.
The initiative, called the North American Tripartite Committee on Agricultural Statistics, or NATCAS, aims to advance the development and publication of comparable North American agricultural statistics. Representatives of our three nations meet annually in one of the three host countries while working groups focusing on single projects meet more frequently via teleconference. One exciting recent opportunity for collaboration has been in the area of remote sensing using satellite imagery. Teams from the three countries have shared ideas and knowledge that have benefitted each country.
The collaboration among our countries produced numerous publications. The first, released in 1999, contained cattle and calves by class and calf crop for the United States and Canada. In 2004, we began publishing information on hogs and pigs in these two countries, and later, information on sheep was added to the cattle releases. A joint potato release was recently added to the growing list of publications. Now, a website is available that includes comparable statistics on multiple commodities in all three countries, including information from the three country’s censuses of agriculture.
The website allows users to see side-by-side statistics on people, production, international trade as well as information on fruit and vegetable production and marketing. In true international spirit, all information is available in the official languages of the three countries, English, French, and Spanish.
Another benefit for data users is the information on agricultural concepts between the three countries. This basic information on how each country produces agricultural statistics as well as a comparison of common terms and definitions helps users gain an understanding of our North American agriculture. We’re planning to update the website and publish new joint publications in 2016. Stay tuned as more new and exciting information is presented for these three North American neighbors.