Farmers Being Surveyed about Planting Intentions

Mendelssohn’s classic spring song, reminding us that spring planting time is rapidly approaching. Of course in ag circles, you don’t need music to tell you the spring is approaching. Just listen to all the analysts and traders and others speculating about how much of what crops farmers are going to plant this spring.

There’s always a lot of speculation out there even leading up to this point about what acreage is going to be.

Oh yes, there are those who will theorize and speculate and predict and guess but Lance Hoenig with USDA Statistics Service says yes, you may try to predict what farmers are going to do but…

“This is the first opportunity to find out collectively what the farmers themselves are thinking.”

The “this” that Lance is talking about is the USDA’s Planting Intentions. Oh yeah, that’s Lance’s way of getting me to call it by its official name, the Prospective Plantings Report. I call it the Planting Intentions Report because it’s easier to say but anyway.

The Prospective Plantings Report is always a highly anticipated report. Of course, it’s USDA is first survey-based look at what planting intentions are for the upcoming season that first gauge of what farmers expect to plan to the various crops during the upcoming crop season.

And to find out what they expect to plant…

“We’ll be reaching out to more than 70,000 producers and we’re really asking how many acres of the various crops do you intend to plant at this time.”

Subject to changes because of weather or input prices or any number of 100 other factors results to be published in USDA is planting into sorry, prospective plantings report in late March survey questionnaires were mailed out to selected producers back on February 17. And so Lance says

“Our goal is to get as many responses as we can and so everybody gets an opportunity to either fill out that form and send it back in via the mail. You’ve got an opportunity to go out on the web and complete it there but if you choose not to do that we will start owning producers right at the end of February. We’ll do that for a couple of weeks.”

And Lance says in some cases if needed…

“We might even send it in over here out to the operation to collect that information.”

USDA will shut down data collection March 17. With the prospective plantings report to you out noon Eastern time, March 28. This is Gary Crawford, very funny, Lance, reporting for the US Department of Agriculture.