NASS held a successful Mid-Year Workshop at the National Operations Center (NOC) in St. Louis, Missouri on April 24-27, 2012 to prepare for the upcoming June Area Survey. It was the first training for the June Survey to be held at the NOC which opened in October 2011.
The workshop was primarily designed for NASS Field Office statisticians and staff and there were participants from 43 states and Puerto Rico. Workshop presenters and senior staff from the NOC and NASS Headquarters included representatives from Survey Management, Field Operations, Research and Development, Census and Survey, Program Administration and Information Technology Divisions. NASDA’s NASS Program Director Charlie Ingram also participated in the workshop.
The June Area survey is one of the largest annual NASS survey projects. It is designed to account for every acre of land, all agricultural activities, and land uses within segment boundaries. The survey data is used to make reliable estimates of crop acreages, grain stocks, livestock inventories (including cattle, hogs, poultry and sheep), land values, cash rents and other farm numbers. The diverse range of these survey items is used for future surveys. Every five years and in 2012, the Agricultural Coverage Evaluation Survey (ACES) is conducted in conjunction with the June Survey to measure the accuracy and completeness of the Census of Agriculture farm counts.
Some of the topics discussed during the workshop included: survey procedures, map preparation, data collection management, response rates, training for field offices and enumerators, and data quality. The workshop also provided a great opportunity for networking and information-sharing between field offices, NASS headquarters, NASDA, and NOC staff.
On the afternoon of April 26, there was an “Open House” and tour of the NOC facilities for workshop participants, and invited guests including NASS retirees, data users, and state directors/deputies/staff from Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois. NOC Director Bob Bass presented an award to Deputy Brad Parks for his work and planning efforts last year to get the NOC operational.