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NPB: Importance of USDA NASS Pork Survey

Did you recently get an envelope or receive a phone call from the USDA NASS asking questions about inventory and intentions for your operations? Participating in the USDA Hogs and Pigs has a lot of benefits for pork producers according to Anthony Fischer, agriculture statistician with USDA NASS.

Fischer says, “On a broad level, survey participation, that improves the data’s accuracy and reliability and it also removes bias of participating in the hog survey. It paints a clearer picture of the hog inventory and productivity in your area.”

One way pork producers can utilize the data from the USDA NASS is for marketing purposes and in farrowing to give insight into slaughter rates in the coming weeks, along with supply information. He says, “They can use the data to make informed decisions about their operation and none of this would be possible without farmer participation. It’s also important to remember that from a methodology perspective, smaller operations they’re sampled at a lower rate than larger ones, so weights are attached to them to account for an operation size.”

The hogs and pigs report has been published every quarter since 1867.

Fischer says, “So, there’s a rich time series of information that displays how the hog industry has changed. The report can give some clarity to the direction of where the industry is headed in the future, but it’s important to note that NASS doesn’t comment on the potential market implications of the report, but some items that farmers always follow or the pigs saved per liter, the farrowing intentions and the inventories by state.”

Farmers are given the option of filling out a confidential paper or online survey. Fischer said requests will be sent to pork producers one month before the release date.

“This is because farmers are asked to give their hog inventory as of the first of the month,” according to Fischer. “The surveys are usually mailed about five weeks before the release and calling generally begins about four weeks before the release. So, respondents can also complete the survey online the day before the reference date up until, data collection ends, which is usually around the middle of the month.”

National Pork Board will be hosting a Hogs and Pigs report webinar on September 28 at 3:30 central with Altin Kalo, head economist with Steiner Consulting Group, evaluating the report. Register for the webinar at porkcheckoff.org.

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