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national agricultural statistics service

USDA’s Two Statistical Agencies Produce Quality, Trusted Information

Every five years, the United Nations designates October 20 as World Statistics Day to celebrate the importance of official statistics. USDA has two principal federal statistical agencies, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Economic Research Service (ERS). These two agencies provide vast amounts of information that help us better understand our food system, rural communities, the environment, and the farmers who feed our families.

New and Beginning Farmers: The Future of American Agriculture

A snapshot of the next generation of young men and women realizing their dreams of becoming full- or part-time farmers reveals challenging opportunities. Some young farmers, like Hank Huffman – a 25-year-old farmer from rural eastern North Carolina – have gleaned great experiences from the generations of farmers before them. Hank, bolstered by the experience and wisdom imparted to him by his father, grandfather, and great grandfather, is now making his mark on the field of agriculture. He is a fourth-generation farmer growing corn and soybeans, and producing poultry and cattle on 130 acres. Born and bred on the pride and encouragement of the Future Farmers of America, better known as the National FFA Organization, he is living his “American Dream.”

Value-Added Ag Products Help Home Cooks and Bakers Experiment in the Kitchen

In recent months, people around the world have found new ways to spend time at home. Many Americans have picked up hobbies like arts and crafts, working out, and – of course – cooking and baking. You may not know that many popular recipes feature value-added products. A value-added product is one that has had a change in its original physical state or form – such as milling wheat into flour and making fruit into jam. The method of production (organic, for example) and the way it is marketed can also enhance value. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 33,523 farms produced value-added products in 2017, totaling $4.04 billion in sales.

Wrapping up Picnic Month

Summer is in full swing and, for many, that means it's time for a picnic. Whether you stay in your backyard or head to your favorite lookout spot, a picnic is always a good idea. If you didn’t feast outdoors in July during National Picnic Month, there’s still time to enjoy a great meal with nice weather and peaceful scenery.

Data Say…Dairy Has Changed

When I was younger, I loved to watch a cartoon on TV called ‘The Jetsons,’ which showed life in a future world. People had flying, self-driven “cars” and robotic housekeepers. As a kid who loved her meat and potatoes, I distinctly remember one scene in which Judy Jetson served a steak dinner by getting a pill from a vending-type machine. Her father, George Jetson, savored the two small bites filled with flavor and nutrition. This meal satisfied him completely. I couldn’t then imagine that futuristic dinner scene being a reality, and I still don’t. But technology, science, and marketing have changed the way we produce our food and have altered the structure of farming. Data tell us so. Let’s look at milk as an example.

At the Heart of The Buckeye State

Ever wonder where Ohio’s nickname came from? Ohio is commonly referred to as “The Buckeye State” due to the prevalence of the Ohio Buckeye, named Ohio’s official state tree in the 1950s. According to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the name refers to the tree’s nuts and their resemblance to the eye of a deer. But don’t eat these nuts! NRCS warns that all parts of the Ohio Buckeye are toxic to humans and livestock. Luckily there are many other things we can eat that come out of this great state.

Fun Facts About Your Favorite Salsa Ingredients

It’s National Salsa Month! If you missed Salsa Day, no worries, Americans enjoy salsa all year long. Use this recipe to create a delicious pairing for chips, eggs, steak, chicken, shrimp, or salmon, and see the latest agricultural statistics for each ingredient. A condiment for all seasons and any meal, salsas range from simple salsa fresca (also known as pico de gallo) to peach salsa. U.S. farmers grow everything you need to make it delicious.

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.

Hawaii’s Crown Jewels of U.S. Agriculture

Without a doubt, Hawaii is an influencer’s paradise when it comes to spurring creativity for storytellers, brands, and entertainment on social media platforms of all kinds. But are these “influencers in the wild” missing out on the crowning jewel of U.S. agriculture? Maybe not, but there is a wellspring of inspirational agriculture growing in Hawaii.

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.