NASS conducts various monthly and annual surveys and collects additional information to estimate the prices producers receive for approximately 100 crop and livestock commodities. Surveys are conducted in every state, although not all states survey all crop and livestock commodities; the specific commodities covered are customized for each state.
For the major grains, oilseeds, and pulse crops, NASS surveys a select panel of approximately 2,000 mills, elevators, and buyers monthly in the top producing states, asking about total quantity purchased and total dollars received. For the major livestock species, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) collects prices daily, weekly, and monthly from packing plants and livestock auctions on number of head sold, total live weight, and total dollars paid. For other commodities, NASS conducts surveys and uses administrative data as needed.
Based on the data collected and the information received from AMS, NASS computes monthly average state and national prices that producers received including market year averages (MYA) for approximately 65 commodities. An additional 35 commodities are MYA only. NASS publishes the price estimates in the Agricultural Prices report on or near the last business day of each month. Data are also available through the NASS searchable database, QuickStats.
Prices Received Indexes
NASS uses the monthly price estimates for 48 commodities to calculate prices received indexes for overall farm prices, all crops, all livestock, and twelve crop and livestock commodity groupings. The indexes measure the change in the prices agricultural producers receive compared to a base period (1990-1992=100). NASS also converts the indexes to the parity base period (1910-1914=100), as required by statute to compute parity prices and parity ratios. All indexes are updated monthly in QuickStats and published quarterly (January, April, July, October) in Agricultural Prices.
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How the Price Estimates and Indexes Are Used
Prices received data are inputs for a number of important functions performed by data users:
- USDA uses Prices Received data to determine the value of agricultural production.
- The Economic Research Service (ERS) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) use commodity cash receipts and net farm income as components for the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA).
- The Risk Management Agency (RMA) uses state level price data to administer insurance programs.
- The Farm Service Agency (FSA) uses prices received estimates in computing counter cyclical and disaster payments.
- Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) use the private grazing fees, the November-October average beef cattle price, and the Beef Cattle Production Index (1964-1968=100) to determine the Federal grazing fee lease rate under the Public Rangeland Improvement Act.
- State governments use the data for land valuations and taxation purposes.
- The AMS uses parity price data to administer fruit and vegetable marketing orders.
- The Federal Reserve System and ERS use the prices received indexes as a general measure of commodity price changes.
For information about the prices received survey and index methodology, please click here.
For information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at (800) 727‑9540, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: 09/30/11
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