As the 2011 growing season officially comes to an end, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end production numbers.  After months of drought, flooding and wild fires in some parts of the country, it is vital for farmers to respond to the December Agricultural Survey to ensure the impact of these natural disasters is accurately reported. Approximately 2,300 California farmers and ranchers will be included in a national sample of producers who will be contacted.

“The December Agricultural Survey is the largest and most important year-end survey conducted by NASS,” said Vic Tolomeo, director, California Field Office.  “It is the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States.”

“Data from the December Agricultural Survey will benefit farmers by providing timely and accurate information to help them make critical year-end business decisions following a growing season of unprecedented weather-related challenges,” added Tolomeo.

During the first two weeks of December, representatives from the USDA-NASS California Field Office will contact selected California producers by mail or telephone and ask them to provide information on their 2011 field acreage and production, crop yield per acre, on-farm storage capacity and crop storage as of Dec. 1.

As with all NASS surveys, individual responses are kept strictly confidential and used only in combination with other responses to report California and U.S. estimates. “This,” said Tolomeo, “assures that, regardless of size, no individual operation can be identified when the results of the study are reported.”

Information will be compiled, analyzed and published in a series of USDA reports, including the annualCrop Production Summary and quarterly Grain Stocks Report, both to be released on Jan. 12, 2012 after 5:30 a.m. PST.  All NASS reports are available at no cost at http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.