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Veteran Contributor

USDA survey anyone?

Venting here!!

Anyone else get one of the 24 page ag statistic surveys that is "required by law"?  

It is a nightmare to complete and my husband says to just put in some numbers as they'll never audit it anyway.  

 Why do they ask us to list individually every contract we had for commodities delivered in 2014--quantities and final price received?

Why do they need to know every number off the Schedule F form, only broken down into far more detail?  

Or a breakdown of the net cost of farm cars, trucks, equipment, etc., the market value, depreciation, etc.  

Or how much we had in defer pay on Dec. 31?  And the balance of grain in storage, and it's value. 

Or list all your debt - list lender, balance owed on Dec. 31, interest rate, type of loan, year obtained, terms, % for operating, purpose of loan, etc. 

Then it starts asking for farm operator household non-farm income (dividends, pensions, and other non-farm sources), assets & debts?  


That's only a small fraction of the information they are asking.  

The front of the form says it takes 100 minutes to complete.  That's totally a low estimate unless someone is making up numbers.  

I had a question on one of the items so I called in and got a recorded message to leave my name and they'll get back to me within 48 hours!   That's ridiculous. 


Does anyone put forth much effort to complete the form?  If not, how accurate can the resulting report be anyway.  

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5 Replies
Honored Advisor

Re: USDA survey anyone?

I did not recieve this wonderful packet in the mail.  But my in-laws recieved the landlord/rental version.


I would guess that 50 % of these get thrown in the trash and 50 % are returned with ballpark numbers and probably many questions unanswered. Thus leaving the collected information incomplete and worthless.


I failed to fill one out several years ago.......even after receiving the packet three times.   I finally gave ballark answers over the phone a couple of months later and the phone call lasted less than 5 minutes.

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mvp farms
Veteran Contributor

Re: USDA survey anyone?

On our operation my dad owns the yards and I own and rent some land and of course own a house in town.  When they call to interview you they never can get it through their thick sculls that all I own and rent is tillable land, so there is no "waste' or yards.  Apparently you cannot farm in this country without a yard!

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Honored Advisor

Re: USDA survey anyone?

I throw them away ... max fine last time I checked was $50.


Never been fined.


Says it has to be returned ... Not filled out. 


Really non of their business from my libertarian state of mind.



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Senior Contributor

Re: USDA survey anyone?

I make them keep calling till in driving and have time to talk. Then I give approximate numbers. I tell them I don't have the info in front of me when we are talking.
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Honored Advisor

Re: USDA survey anyone?

Don't worry it is a question that should be asked every year.  Not fond of it myself.  "Respone is Mandatory" ---- I would think mailing it back blank is a response.

But I'll go through a little theraputic guilt trip every time.  This year is different.  No one on this board can say "you took the subsidy so answer the questions."  Not this year.


You did a good job of explaining the real "poison ivy itch" brought on by the survey.   The depth of detail of irrelevant personal issues compared to the lack of any system for valuing inventory.  Or detailing from what year that inventory was produced.  We have evolved from a quest for crop size and condition to a quest to see into the lives of farmers and their lifestyles.




Usda's role is evolving, and the feel of its work has evolved as well.  

Don't take the survey into an FSA office and expect help on it.  They all have that "I cannot assist you" tattoo.  Defining the questions on the survey would be assisting you.

The survey has that "careful what you say it can be used against you" feel to it.


Results ------ worthless by design.

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