New USDA survey to measure areas for improvement

Staff Reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a new annual survey of farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners.

The survey will help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency.

A selection of 28,000 producers will receive the survey over the next few weeks, but all farmers are encouraged to take the survey online at

“We want to hear from our customers so we can learn what we’re doing right and where we’re missing the mark,” said Bill Northey, under secretary for farm production and conservation for the USDA. “Good data is critical to good decision-making. The more responses we receive, the better we can understand what we need to do to improve our services to America’s farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners.”

This survey is part of the President’s Management Agenda. It requires High Impact Service Provider agencies across the federal government, including FSA and NRCS, to conduct annual surveys to measure and respond to areas needing improvement.

“We recognize producers and our staff may be experiencing a lot of change in how they interact with USDA,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “This is a good time to check in with our customers.”

NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said the input will be used to help improve the delivery of the NRCS’ conservation programs as the sister agencies will do for their programs.

“We’re about our customers,” said Martin Barbre, RMA administrator. “RMA works to provide producers with crop insurance policies that meet their needs, and we need to know where we can improve.”

The survey consists of 20 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Responses are confidential, and individual responses will be aggregated.

The survey will be open for at least six weeks and will be closed once USDA receives a 30% response rate.