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Abstract

The 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 conducted annually is the June Area Survey (JAS). This survey requires field enumerators to visit sampled land areas (segments) designated on aerial photos and record all agricultural activity occurring within those specified land areas. Over the past eight years, the national JAS’s overall response rate has been gradually deteriorating from 86.5 percent in 2000 to 81.7 percent in 2007. Assuming this trend continues, the JAS national response rate will fall below the Office of Management and Budget’s threshold rate of 80 percent in three to four years. Falling below this rate dictates the need for nonresponse bias analysis and, in general, heightens the concern about the potential negative impact of nonresponse on survey results. This study examines some of the underlying causes of nonresponse in the 2007 June Area Survey in five states (California, Kansas, New York, Virginia, and Washington).

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