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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25260.
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PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS Prepublication Copy Uncorrected Proofs  Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms Panel on Improving Data Collection and Reporting about Agriculture with Increasingly Complex Farm Structures Catherine L. Kling and Christopher Mackie, Editors Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education A Consensus Study Report of  

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by contract number 58-5000-7-0106 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25260 Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25260.                                                

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.                                      

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on studies’ statement of task by authoring committees of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.    

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   PANEL ON IMPROVING DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING ABOUT AGRICULTURE WITH INCREASINGLY COMPLEX FARM STRUCTURES CATHERINE L. KLING (Chair), Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University J. G. ARBUCKLE, JR., Department of Sociology, Iowa State University NORMAN M. BRADBURN, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago RICHARD A. DUNN, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Connecticut ALLEN M. FEATHERSTONE, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University JOSEPH W. GLAUBER, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC BRENT HUETH, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin– Madison ANI L. KATCHOVA, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University DORIS MOLD, Sunrise Agricultural Associates JEAN OPSOMER, Westat, Rockville, Maryland GREG PETERSON, Agriculture, Energy, Environment and Transportation Statistics Branch, Statistics Canada KRIJN POPPE, Wageningen University and Research DANIEL A. SUMNER, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis JAMES WAGNER, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan JEREMY G. WEBER, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh CHRIS MACKIE, Study Director MICHAEL SIRI, Program Coordinator v   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS ROBERT M. GROVES (Chair), Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Sociology, Georgetown University FRANCINE BLAU, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University MARY ELLEN BOCK, Department of Statistics, Purdue University (emerita) ANNE C. CASE, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University MICHAEL CHERNEW, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School JANET CURRIE, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University DONALD DILLMAM, Social and Economic Sciences Research Center, Washington State University CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University JAMES HOUSE, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan THOMAS MESENBOURG, Retired, formerly U.S. Census Bureau SUSAN A. MURPHY, Department of Statistics and Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan SARAH NUSSER, Office of the Vice President for Research and Department of Statistics, Iowa State University COLM O’MUIRCHEARTAIGH, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago JEROME P. REITER, Department of Statistical Science, Duke University ROBERTO RIGOBON, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JUDITH A. SELTZER, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles EDWARD SHORTLIFFE, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University/Arizona State University BRIAN HARRIS-KOJETIN, Director     vi   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS               Acknowledgments This report is the product of contributions from many colleagues whom we thank for their time, generosity, and expert guidance. The project was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Economic Research Service (ERS) to help them advance methods for collecting data and reporting information about American agriculture given the changes and increased complexity in farm business structure. Our points of contact at NASS and ERS, Kathleen Ott and Jeffrey Hopkins respectively, provided not only administrative guidance throughout the study, but also considerable subject-matter expertise as well, especially for the panel’s public information gathering sessions. The panel thanks the following agency representatives who attended open meetings and generously gave of their time to present material to inform the panel’s deliberations: Catherine Woteki, USDA Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics; Renee Picanso, Deputy Administrator; NASS, Mary Bohman, Administrator, ERS; Barbara Rater, NASS; and Marca Weinberg, ERS. These individuals clearly articulated to the panel USDA’s interests and goals for the study. Joe Parsons, NASS, provided detailed informed about the numbers and types of surveys conducted, the portfolio of products/publications created, and the stakeholders who use them. Marca Weinberg and Jeff Hopkins, ERS, outlined how the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) fits into ERS goals and allows the agency to deliver information to stakeholders. Mark Apodaca, NASS, provided insights about how data are kept on NASS’s list frame and about the sampling units used by NASS more broadly. Jim MacDonald, ERS, and Kathleen Ott, NASS, presented a statistical profile of the role and characteristics of complex farms in the United States. Kathy answered panel questions about NASS and ERS cognitive testing procedures for ARMS and the Census of Agriculture. Donald Buysse, NASS, presented an overview of data collection and methods for creating estimates from the Census of Agriculture. Jeff Hopkins, ERS, and Andrew Dau, NASS, provided a similar overview of ARMS, also describing key uses of the data. Jeff Bailey and Jody McDaniel, both of NASS, discussed the full range of production surveys conducted by the agency and explained how the roles of these surveys differ from the Census of Agriculture and ARMS. Kevin Barnes, NASS, described the agency’s data collection practices across state offices. Linda Young, NASS, and Dan Prager, ERS, presented information to the panel about farm typology, including the uses and purpose of the “principal operator” construct. Chris Messer, who directs the NASS’s pacific vii   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   region field office, discussed the effectiveness of current survey designs as they are implemented in the field. Lance Honig, NASS, discussed the agency’s expanding use of GIS and remote sensing data for improving data collection and research, and reducing respondent burden. Cynthia Nickerson and Steve Wallender, both of ERS, presented information to the panel on current uses of administrative and commercial data in the production of agricultural statistics and visions for next steps. Beyond USDA, Gaetan St-Louis, Director of Statistical Registers and Geography Division, Statistics Canada, described methods for dealing with complex statistical structures in Statistics Canada programs. Emily Berg, Iowa State University, presented methodologies for using administrative data across the agricultural statistics system. Amy O’Hara, then of the U.S. Census Bureau, described data linkage programs and use of administrative data across the U.S. statistical system more broadly. Ron Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau; Dave Talon, BLS; Carrie Litkowski, BEA; and Patrick Canning, ERS provided comments on this topic from the perspectives of their respective agencies. The panel also heard from farm operators and decision makers who, crucially, provide data to USDA through survey participation. Don Brown, Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture and himself a farmer, provided insights into workings of complex operations, about responding to the Census (and other surveys), and about complications created by the interaction of operations and family members. Providing insights that were intended to help NASS and ERS understand the respondent experience, improve the comprehensiveness and relevance of their surveys, and increase the value of resultant data and statistics to users were Kevin Phillips of Michael David Winery; Jim Rickert of Prather Ranch, Shasta County; and Tony Turkovich of Button and Turkovich Ranch, Yolo County. Each attended a panel meeting to share their observations about NASS data collection activities. Mr. Turkovich gave generously of his time by leading a tour of his farm so that panel members could observe first-hand the business relationships involved in the production processes of a large multi-product operation. The panel was able to learn more about the demand for USDA data beyond “official” uses (e.g., mandates, principal economic indicators, administration of strategic goals, and enforcing laws and regulations) from Jody Campiche, V.P., Economics & Policy Analysis, National Cotton Council; Bob Young, Chief Economist and Deputy Executive Director, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation; and Mitch Morehart, Authoritative Analytics. Jody McDaniel, NASS and Jim MacDonald, ERS, provided additional information about data demands for informing public policy issues and generating information used by stakeholder groups. The panel could not have conducted its work efficiently without the capable staff of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Brian Harris-Kojetin, director of the Committee on National Statistics, provided institutional leadership and substantive contributions during meetings; Kirsten Sampson-Snyder, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, expertly coordinated the review process; and Marc DeFrancis provided thorough final editing that improved the readability of the report for a wide audience. We also thank program coordinator Michael Siri for his well-organized and efficient logistical support of the panel’s meetings, as well as his contribution to assembling and formatting of this report. On behalf of the panel, I thank the study director, Christopher Mackie, for his unfailing good humor, excellent organization, patience in working with an often distracted chair, and attention to detail in all dimensions of producing the work. The quality and timeliness of this report would not have been possible without his substantial contributions. viii   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   Finally, and most importantly, a note of appreciation is in order for my fellow panel members. This report reflects the collective expertise and commitment of all panel members: J. Gordon Arbuckle, Iowa State University; Norman Bradburn, NORC; Richard Dunn, University of Connecticut; Allen Featherstone, Kansas State University; Joseph W. Glauber, International Food Policy Research Institute; Brent Hueth, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Ani Katchova, The Ohio State University; Doris Mold, Sunrise Agricultural Associates, LLC; Jean Opsomer, Westat; Greg Peterson, Statistics Canada; Krijn Poppe, LEI Wageningen UR; Daniel Sumner, University of California, Davis; James Wagner, University of Michigan; and Jeremy Weber, University of Pittsburgh. This group—chosen for their diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and subject matter knowledge—gave generously of their time to attend meetings and to apply their expertise in the production of this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the institution in making its reports as sound as possible, and to ensure that the reports meet institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The panel thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: David E. Bell, Agriculture and Business, Harvard Business School; Mary Ellen Bock, Department of Statistics, Purdue University; Katherine Smith Evans, Government Relations, American Economic Association; David Freshwater, Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky; Eldon Gould, Producer, Gould Farms, Maple Park, IL; Carol House, Independent Consultant; Philip L. Martin, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis; and Mitchell Morehart, Owner, Authoritative Analytics, LLC., Palmyra, VA. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of the report was overseen by Cynthia Clark, National Agricultural Statistics Service (retired), and Charles Manski, Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. Appointed by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee, they were responsible for making certain that the independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Catherine Kling, Chair Panel on Improving Data Collection and Reporting about Agriculture with Increasingly Complex Farm Structures ix   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   Table of Contents Summary 1. Introduction 1.1. Why measure the activities of farms and farming? 1.2. Study objectives and statement of task 1.3. Key themes and report structure 2. Background: USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service 2.1. Missions and mandates 2.2. Data needs and current reporting 2.3. Current data infrastructure at NASS and ERS 2.4. The essential perspective of data providers: respondent burden, response rates, and data accuracy Appendix 2.1. Glossary of Terms, with USDA Definitions and Alternative Definitions Appendix 2.2: Total Respondent Burden for NASS for 2017 3. Dimensions of Farm Complexity 3.1. Farm size 3.2. Geographic dispersion of operations 3.3. Businesses that operate multiple farms or other businesses 3.4. Farm connected nonfarm output 3.5. Farm employment and data on hours and wages 3.6. Farm and business ownership: Legal relationships between owners and farms 3.7. Management and decision-making relationships 4. Conceptual Issues: Defining Farming, Farms, Farmers, and Agriculture 4.1. Farming 4.2. The Farm 4.3. The Farmer x   

PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS   4.4. The family farm and the farm household 4.5. Agriculture and agribusiness 4.6. Farm and nonfarm income 4.7. Implications Appendix 4.1. Agricultural activities listed in NAICS Sector 11: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 5. The Growing Complexity of Farm Business Structure: Implications for Data Collection 5.1. Defining the statistical units of farm, farmer, and land 5.2. Area Sampling Frame Methods Used by the USDA Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Mission 5.3. Alternative models and methods for describing farm production and finances 5.4. Proposed modifications to the Census of Agriculture and ARMS to better account for complex farms 6. A Broader Data Infrastrucure: Administrative and Other Nonsurvey Data Sources 6.1. Motivations for pursuing alternative data sources 6.2. Benefits and challenges of using administrative data in statistical programs 6.3. Current, and potential future, use of administrative data by USDA 6.4. The essential role of data linking References Appendix A Biographical Sketches of Panel Members   xi   

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America’s farms and farmers are integral to the U.S. economy and, more broadly, to the nation’s social and cultural fabric. A healthy agricultural sector helps ensure a safe and reliable food supply, improves energy security, and contributes to employment and economic development, traditionally in small towns and rural areas where farming serves as a nexus for related sectors from farm machinery manufacturing to food processing. The agricultural sector also plays a role in the nation’s overall economic growth by providing crucial raw inputs for the production of a wide range of goods and services, including many that generate substantial export value.

If the agricultural sector is to be accurately understood and the policies that affect its functioning are to remain well informed, the statistical system’s data collection programs must be periodically revisited to ensure they are keeping up with current realities. This report reviews current information and makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS) to help identify effective methods for collecting data and reporting information about American agriculture, given increased complexity and other changes in farm business structure in recent decades.

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