Farm Foundation Webinar: Data As Important As Ever

John DavisData Collection, USDA

Think about for a moment just how important having good information on your GPS device is. You need to know exactly where you are in that field, how fast you’re going, what the rate of distribution of your inputs are, right? Well, knowing exactly where you are obviously applies to the markets as well, and if you didn’t receive good data to make your decisions, you could be as far off course in your operation as a tractor without those satellites above to guide it. But that stream of data people at the USDA have been able to provide could be in trouble with budgets cuts constantly looming overhead. Our friends at the Farm Foundation recently held a webinar organized by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE), in partnership with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), and Montana State University to address those possible information issues.

“The importance of data is a really critical matter for us today,” said Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin, who served as moderator for the event. “Data remains as important as ever to public and private decision makers and to the smooth functioning of markets.”

Conklin was joined by Joseph J. Prusacki, Director, Statistics Division, USDA National Agricultural Statisics Service (NASS), who provided an overview of data uses, user groups and the impacts of budget cuts; Jim Robb of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, who talked about the challenges USDA faces in data collection; Paul Hughes of Nestle Purina PetCare, who provided a private sector perspective on data collection issues; and Mark Seetin of the U.S. Apple Association, who addressed producer groups’ concerns on the issue.

It’s some excellent information, and you can hear more about what each one had to say during the entire hour-long webinar here:
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If you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, check back here and on our sister website,, where over the next few days, I’ll be breaking down what each one had to say.