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USDA to Use Satellite Data for Crop Estimates

11/01/2019

In response to a request by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky confirmed that the USDA has implemented a pilot program to buy and evaluate satellite data to estimate crop yields.

Grassley noted that farmers in his state have questions concerning the accuracy and dependability of USDA crop reports based on methods of collecting data. Censky acknowledged deficiencies especially in the current unusual crop year with late planting due to flooding and early frost and snowfall in some states.

Traditionally the USDA has relied on reports by producers and physical surveys as used by private forecasters. Generally USDA has been accurate in their projections but advances in technology are required to supplement existing procedures and trade information.