WASHINGTON — Starting next week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the first-ever National Agroforestry Survey. Data collection begins Feb. 1 and concludes April 5, 2022. The survey will be sent to 11,100 farmers and ranchers nationwide to gather information on the five agroforestry practices used for climate, conservation and production benefits, including windbreaks, silvopasture, riparian forest buffers, alley cropping as well as forest farming and multi-story cropping.
“For the first time ever, ag producers have the opportunity to share the dynamic ways they manage valuable agroforestry resources,” said NASS Agricultural Statistics Board Chair Joe Parsons. “The results of this survey could catalyze important change by helping policymakers and farm groups more fully understand and support this aspect of agriculture in the 21st century. The data will inform programs and policy to benefit both the landowners and farmers as well as the environment.”
The survey is conducted cooperatively with the USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC), which is a partnership between USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NAC will release the summarized data in studies, press releases, and publications such as highlights. Highlights will give an overview of how agroforestry practices are used in regions across the United States.
“Information shared directly from farmers and ranchers really is one of the best ways to learn what works and what doesn’t in agroforestry. We will use the data to discover the most effective, efficient and profitable ways climate-smart agroforestry practices are used, and share what we learn in a series of research reports to benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said NAC Research Program Lead Matthew Smith.
Producers can respond to the survey securely online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The survey will take no longer than 50 minutes to complete if producers have all five agroforestry practices on their operations. Response time will be shorter if there are fewer practices to report. The information provided by farmers and ranchers is protected by federal law (Title V, Subtitle A, Public Law 107-347), which keeps respondent identity, operation, and answers confidential. For more information, visit www.nass.usda.gov/go/
USDA is accelerating its important agroforestry work in many ways, including through a recent agreement signed by Secretary Vilsack on behalf of USDA’s National Agroforestry Center to memorialize the partnership between USDA and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. The agreement aims to increase the number of minority landowners in the South and support them in sustainable forestry and agroforestry practices.