Data collected from farmers and ranchers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) allows for timely and accurate statistics that help our customers – U.S. farmers and ranchers, among many others – make informed business decisions. These vital data also affect farm policy, influence trade and the market, as well as academic and historical research. Producing these statistics depends on a positive survey experience for our customers.
To better understand farmers’ and ranchers’ attitudes about their survey experiences, we collected feedback from farmers and ranchers on the following topics:
- Why do farmers and ranchers respond to NASS surveys?
- Why do farmers and ranchers not respond to NASS surveys?
- How can NASS better survey farmers and ranchers?
We used three methods to get feedback on these questions and identify opportunities to improve the customer experience for farmers and ranchers. Those were:
- Focus groups throughout the United States.
- In-person interviews by NASS state statisticians.
- Social media surveys using Facebook, Twitter and the NASS website.
In total, we completed 163 interviews over the course of a year and the data are now being processed and analyzed. These conversations with farmers and ranchers – our customers – are not the end of the discussion. NASS – like all of USDA – is engaging in an ongoing effort to make our interactions with farmers and ranchers faster, easier and more user-friendly.