How Will Uncertain Economy Affect Planting Intentions?

USDA will find out by surveying farmers this month and reporting results on March 31.

Published on: Mar 2, 2009

How will the uncertain economy affect U.S. farmer's planting intentions in 2009?
Will the increasing demand for biofuels continue to impact crop acreage? What is the outlook for corn, soybeans and other crops? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered by the March Agricultural Survey conducted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

"This March survey is one of our most important annual surveys," says Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa field office in Des Moines. "This survey will provide the first official estimates of U.S. farmers' planting intentions for 2009, giving everyone a 'first look' at prospects for the upcoming growing season.

"Data from the March Agricultural Survey benefit farmers by providing timely and
accurate information to help them make critical decisions for their operation. When producers finalize their cropping and marketing plans, this survey will be one of the most important sources of information for them," added Thessen.

Farmers encouraged to participate in survey

Beginning the end of February, NASS has begun to contact selected farmers by mail or telephone, asking them to provide information about the types and acres of crops they intend to plant for the 2009 crop year. NASS will also collect data on quantities of grains and oilseeds stored on-farm.

The information will be compiled and analyzed then published in a series of USDA reports, including the annual Prospective Plantings report and quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on March 31.

As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. "NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified," says Thessen. All reports are available on the NASS Web site: For more information on NASS surveys and reports, you can call the NASS Iowa field office at 800-772-0825.