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Abstract

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) surveys farmers and ranchers across the United States and Puerto Rico in order to estimate crops and livestock, assess production practices, and identify economic trends. One of the surveys NASS conducts is the Agricultural Survey, conducted four times a year, (March, June, September and December). June is the base quarter of the survey, and it is the focus of this study. In recent years, NASS’ Louisiana Field Office has used personalized pre-survey letters in an effort to increase the response rate. However, this process is very labor intensive compared to mailing a generic pre-survey letter. Given increasing workloads, the Louisiana Field Office sought to determine whether the practice provided positive return for the time expenditure. This study examines whether personalized pre-survey letters result in a higher survey response rate compared to using generic pre-survey letters.

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