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Abstract

The organization sponsoring a survey data collection may affect respondents’ willingness to respond. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun asking agricultural establishments questions during ongoing surveys about respondents’ knowledge and attitudes about NASS. These questions were asked of both respondents and non-respondents to the surveys, and clearly showed a correlation between respondents’ knowledge and attitudes toward NASS and their willingness to cooperate when contacted by NASS. Past burden (number, length, complexity, frequency of contacts, etc.) imposed by NASS was also measured and found to have little correlation with survey cooperation. It was hypothesized that increased contacts may provide opportunities for public relations and help foster more positive attitudes towards the survey sponsor. If increases in burden create more positive opinions of the survey sponsor, this may offset expected declines in cooperativeness as burden increases. However, little relationship was found between respondents’ attitudes toward NASS and the past burden imposed on them.

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