Impact of the Screening Procedures of the June Area Survey on the Number of Farms Estimates

The National Agricultural Statistics Service uses its annual June Area Survey (JAS) as the vehicle to generate annual estimates of farm numbers. These estimates are compared to ones obtained from the quinquennial Census of Agriculture (conducted for all years ending in 2 and 7). The annual estimate of the number of farms from the JAS has been declining steadily between censuses, especially between the 2002 and 2007 Censuses. Furthermore, these have been considerably lower than farm numbers from the census and the difference cannot simply be attributed to sampling error. Some insight into this issue was provided when the 2007 Classification Error Survey, a census follow-up qualitative study, revealed that agricultural operations were being incorrectly classified as non-agricultural during the screening procedures of the JAS. Therefore, to determine the extent of misclassification resulting from the operational screening procedures for the June survey and its immediate impact on number of farms estimation, a post- June Survey intensive screening called the Farm Numbers Research Project was undertaken in the fall of 2009. The study focused primarily on the newly rotated-in segments which comprised 20 percent of the 2009 JAS sample. It targeted non-agricultural, refusal and inaccessible tracts in these newly rotated-in segments. The primary purpose of the survey was to verify farm/nonfarm status, utilizing a survey instrument that contained questions similar to those on the JAS screening form. The study introduced the concepts of subsampling and subtracts, which are not routinely part of the JAS. Also, enumerators were instructed to screen residential areas of onehalf acre or less per parcel, yet another deviation from standard JAS procedures. The results of this effort are presented in this report.

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RDD Research Report

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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