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Every Day is Earth Day for Ag Producers

After a trip to Colorado’s Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” The memorable words paint a sensory-rich picture of “amber waves” and “fruited plains” that celebrate our land and the true wealth of any nation – agriculture. Today, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the United States has more than 900 million acres of land in farms; that’s 40% of all U.S. land. And we rely on the 3.4 million producers, around 1% of our population, to manage that land and provide food, feed, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world.

Find Where Your Food is Grown Using NASS Cropland Data Layer

Whether you are interested in seeing what’s grown in your area or you are a researcher with more in depth informational needs, NASS’s CropScape is a valuable tool for you. CropScape is the public user interface for the national land cover geospatial data product called Cropland Data Layer (CDL). The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the latest annual CDL at 30 meters resolution on Feb. 5, 2020. The entire archive of historical CDL products are available on CropScape for you to browse, interact, visualize, download, and query the CDL dataset without needing specialized software tools.

Looking Ahead to the 2020 Crop Season, What to Expect from NASS Numbers

With the 2020 growing season about to begin for major field crops such as corn and soybeans, we’d like to walk through the surveys and data used during a complete season of field crop estimation. As a way to help you prepare for the 2020 data releases, we’ll explain in a series of articles the sources of data NASS incorporates into estimates as well as the timing and intention of the data as a way to let you know what to expect and how the data can be useful in your work.

NASS Builds Its Future on 150-Year Foundation of Agricultural Statistics

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is well known for being the gold standard for U.S. agricultural data that can help you in your work. We are proud of our reputation for providing useful, accurate data in service to U.S. agriculture for more than 150 years. When extension agents or farm associations write grants to advance agricultural research, they turn to NASS data. When farmers and ranchers want to compare their operation to others or gather unbiased information for marketing decisions, they can turn to NASS data. And when local governments and ag associations are looking to tout the importance of agriculture in their county or state, they turn to NASS data.

Talking Turkey

Did you know that between 2014 and 2018 approximately two thirds of U.S. turkey meat was produced in just six states: Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and Iowa? Minnesota, the largest producer, produces more than 15 percent of U.S. turkey meat annually.

Tech Professionals Use USDA Datasets to Address Water Management Challenges at the IoT World Hackathon

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently took another step forward on its path to accelerate information technology (IT) modernization and improve how it designs agricultural services and interacts with agricultural producers. This spring, USDA joined technical experts, IT professionals, and application developers for the first hackathon at the 2019 Internet of Things (IoT) World Conference in Santa Clara, California.

Where Do Americans’ Food Dollars Go?

In 2017, consumers in the United States spent $1.2 trillion on U.S.-produced food. Nearly all food starts out on a farm, but did you ever wonder how the value added from processing, packaging, transporting, and marketing agricultural food products factors into the costs?

USDA Becoming More Data-Driven, Customer-Focused Organization

USDA has committed to becoming a facts-based, data-driven, customer-focused organization. One of the Department’s two Agency Priority Goals (APGs) for FY18-19 is to develop the USDA Chief Executive Officer (CXO) Dashboards, which integrate data from systems spanning the agency’s 29 agencies and staff offices, and provide the Department with enhanced capacity to collect accurate, reliable, complete, accessible, and consistent data. With this initiative, USDA will have created the first Cabinet-level suite of comprehensive administrative dashboards for seven administrative functions: human resources, information technology, finance, property, procurement, security, and operations.

Open Data: Enabling Fact-Based, Data-Driven Decisions

Nearly five years ago, USDA embarked on a journey as a founding partner of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. GODAN promotes the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible, and usable worldwide. Now with over 700 partners from the private and public sector, non-profits, universities and other groups, the momentum behind this important initiative is increasing. In 2014, USDA partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide funding support to enable the work of the GODAN Secretariat – the people that keep the initiative going day in and day out.

Grass-Cast: A New Grassland Productivity Forecast for the Northern Great Plains

Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge—trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer. In May, a new Grassland Productivity Forecast or “Grass-Cast” has published its first forecast to help producers in the northern Great Plains reduce this economically important source of uncertainty.