The National Agricultural Statistics Service is responsible for collecting and publishing information on virtually every facet of farm production in the United States.
The national headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and the agency operates through 12 regional centers. In addition to more than 400 reports issued throughout the year, the program is also responsible for the U.S. Census of Agriculture, which is compiled every five years. The last came out in 2012, so there will be another this year.
The agency is, by design, apolitical. However, information compiled by the agency is used to help legislators craft agricultural policy, including the farm bill.
Here is a brief history of agricultural statistics, provided by NASS:
1791 – George Washington prepares a survey on agriculture.
1839 – Congress funds the first agricultural surveys.
1840 – First Census of Agriculture is held.
1862 – USDA is established.
1863 – First crop report issued.
1905 – Crop Reporting Board created.