Exclusive: NASS Chief Sits Down For One-On-One Interview

Lance Honig Interview Crop Tour 19

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s division, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), is set to release its next Crop Production report September 12.

The last couple of reports, especially the August 12 Crop Production report, brought some debate among the agricultural industry.

“Any time the numbers don’t meet the expectations that were out there beforehand, it’s going to cause reaction,” said Lance Honig, Chief of Crops Branch of NASS department. “Again, we based the acreage on not only survey data, but satellite data and incorporated the FSA certified acreage information.”

NASS did not use objective yield data, which means physically stepping into the fields to see potential yield for its August report. The department felt it should wait since the crop was so behind in maturity, but plans to use it in future reports. Instead, NASS weighed heavily on farmer surveys.

“We were in low 70 percent response [rate],” said Honig. “[That’s] somewhere between 70 and 75 percent which is actually extremely good. If you talk to anyone who does survey work, those are really high participation rates. The more information we get, the more accurate things can be.”

Some of the confusion may be because of the differences between numbers in multiple reports. The numbers released in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is from a different division of USDA than the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) with its Crop Production Report.

Honig explains how both divisions are all part of one USDA. He says they work closely together but each division does have a different function.

“If you look at the corn yield in the WASDE report in July, that’s the responsibility of the World Ag Outlook Board. They’re basing that largely on trends and maybe weather information and things of that nature,” said Hoing. “Then when August comes around, it becomes NASS’ responsibility to forecast the corn yield.”

Watch his whole interview on the link below as well.

AgDay National Reporter Betsy Jibben sits down with Lance Honig, Chief of Crops for NASS.