Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

NASS gathers 2020 planting intention numbers

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Published on Feb. 22, 2020

With the 2020 crop production season fast approaching, the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) will be contacting producers nationwide to ask about their plans for the upcoming season, according to News Director Erick Johnson during the Feb. 18 episode of the Inside Agriculture podcast. 

            “North Dakota State Statistician Darin Jantzi says each year the ag industry eagerly awaits the USDA’s prospective planting report which provides the first survey based on estimates of U.S. farmers planting intentions for the year,” stated Johnson.

Crops/Stocks survey

            According to NASS, the Crops/Stocks agricultural surveys provide detailed estimates of crop acreage, yields and production as well as the quantities of grain and oilseeds stored on farms. 

These surveys are conducted in all states quarterly. Farmers’ planting intentions are collected in March. Acres planted and acres expected for harvest are collected in June. Small grain acres harvested and production are collected in September and row crop and hay production are collected in December.

“Operations are selected from an area frame and a list frame to produce multiple frame estimates. Farm and ranch operators from the list frame are selected by size depending on the proportion of the commodities of interest the operation has in comparison with other operators on the list,” reads the NASS website. “The area frame sample is added to account for land not covered by the list frame. The sample targets producers of row crops and small grains as well as farm operations with grain storage capacity.”  

            Operators are asked to provide data on the total acres they operate, acreage in each commodity of interest and amount produced at harvest. They are also asked about the amount of each grain or oilseed they have stored, according to NASS. 

            “Each state is asked about a unique set of commodities, depending on which commodities are grown in the particular state and at what acreage level,” reads the NASS website. “These commodities are collected according to their growing season.” 

            “For instance, data for a small grain like winter wheat would be obtained in December, March and June to determine acreage and then in September to determine production,” the website continues. “On the other hand, data for row crops, like corn, are collected in March and June for acreage determination and again in December after the majority of the crop is harvested and production has been determined.” 

            NASS explains information on grains or oilseeds stored on the farm for major commodities such as corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, barley and oats are collected all four quarters, while specialty crops such as rye, flaxseed, rapeseed, safflower, mustard seed, canola and hay are collected once annually in selected producing states. 

            “Other specialty crops such as sunflowers, dry edible peas, Austrian winter peas, lentils and chickpeas are surveyed twice per year in selected producing states,” reads the NASS website.

            Johnson notes the questionnaire will be mailed out in February and producers are encouraged to respond online or via mail.

            “Those producers who don’t respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview,” says Johnson. 

Published data

According to NASS, the data collected is used for U.S. and state estimates of acres planted, harvested, production and on-farm grain stocks. It is also used by commodity markets, educational institutions, state and federal agencies, farm and ranch operators and others for market assessment, planning, decision making and ongoing research. 

The data is published in numerous publications including March’s Prospective Planting, June’s Acreage, September’s Small Grains Summary, quarterly Grain Stocks, monthly Crop Production and January’s Crop Production Summary

Johnson ensures NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and only publishes the aggregate data. 

Data in this article was compiled from the Inside Agriculture podcast and

Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

Back to top