In February 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service announced that it would discontinue annually published county-level estimates for certain crops. While this data will no longer be published, NASS will continue collecting data on those crops using limited producer surveys.

As a result of the change, heads of the Virginia Land Use-Value Assessment Program, referred to as LUVA, are encouraging Virginia producers to respond to all USDA NASS survey requests and fill out all applicable sections to the best of their ability to maintain data robustness. Responses to the National Agricultural Classification Survey are due May 4.

The LUVA program, which is housed in the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, provides Virginia use-value estimates of agricultural and horticultural land for localities to consider when determining proper tax values for qualifying land and relies on NASS data in formulating these estimates.

Even with limited availability of county-level data for certain crops, LUVA remains committed to using the best available data for use-value estimates in Virginia, and will continue to request records for crops with discontinued county-level estimates to enhance the reliability and accuracy of Virginia use-value estimates. LUVA is thus urging producers to complete all USDA surveys as more responses will increase the statistical validity for this data, which will ensure that use-value estimates continue to reflect actual operations and market conditions.

Due to COVID-19, USDA is asking farmers and ranchers to complete their surveys online. All information reported by individuals to NASS is kept confidential, as required by federal law. For more information on how NASS protects information, visit www.nass.usda.gov/confidentiality.

For more information, contact Virginia Land Use-Value Assessment Program leaders Patrick Kayser or Jen Friedel and visit https://aaec.vt.edu/extension/use-value.html.