Divulging Our Sources

posted on Thursday, June 25, 2015

Do you know what the following list of acronyms have in common? AMS, APHIS, ARS, CNPP, ERS, FSA, FNS, FSIS, FAS, GIPSA, NAL, NASS, NIFA, NRCS, RMA, RD. That's right, they are all United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies. You can find out more about each of them here.

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am usually complaining about too much government in our personal and professional lives. But without the USDA and its agencies, the team I work with at Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS) couldn't provide some of the data mining, predictive modeling, applied econometrics, and analytics services our clients need.

The agencies we use the most are:

  • National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) - NASS serves the basic agricultural and rural data needs of the country by providing objective, important and accurate statistical information and services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and public officials.
  • Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) - AMS facilitates the strategic marketing of agricultural products in domestic and international markets while ensuring fair trading practices and promoting a competitive and efficient marketplace.
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS) - ARS is USDA's principal in-house research agency.
  • Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - APHIS provides leadership in ensuring the health and care of animals and plants.
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) - FSIS enhances public health and well-being by protecting the public from foodborne illness and ensuring that the nation's meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly packaged.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment.

In most cases you can't just download a dataset or report from the USDA and pass it on as completed work. Our team uses QuickStats (USDA/NASS tool), Office 365 (Excel, Word, Access, and SharePoint), and SAS to compile the data from several sources (data mining). We can than develop alternative scenarios using the compiled data and our clients data (predictive modeling). We can also use these resources to determine how economic activity either contributes to or impacts our client's business (applied econometrics). Finally, we are often asked to use the data and our value-added services to help the client understand the business environment and marketplace dynamics (analytics services).

Thank-you USDA. Without the services provided by its various agencies it would be very difficult for DIS and our clients to ask the right questions, find the best answers, and make the best decisions.

  1. aphis
  2. nass
  3. nrcs
  4. usda