A recent Farm Foundation Forum, sponsored by The Farm Foundation, addressed the issue of “Data Collection on Agriculture in a Time of Fiscal Constraints.” A presentation [pdf] by Tom Wegner of the private company Land O’Lakes, Inc. addressed the value of public data, the challenges to data collection, and the impacts and consequences of cutbacks in the collection of public data.
Wegner noted that public data from the USDA is reliable, objective, consistent, timely, and unbiased, and widely available for all. He said that Land O’Lakes uses public data for business planning, risk management, and evaluating policy options. He concluded by saying that Land O’Lakes is strong advocate of continuing public collection of agricultural data.
An audio file of the Forum is available.
It is very nice to see the private sector recognizing the value of public data at a time when many politicians are challenging, not just the funding of data collection, but the very idea that the government should be involved in such activities.
See also: Farm Foundation Briefing Focuses on Agricultural Data, COSSA Washington Update, Volume 30, Issue 17 (September 26, 2011) The Consortium of Social Science Associations.