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Data Access

The Economic Research Service: A Wealth of Data and Resources

Sound and objective data and statistics help assess the health of the food, agriculture, and rural sectors of the U.S. economy. Data support ERS research to inform and enhance public and private decisionmaking on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development.

ERS Is in the Forefront of Providing Data

All of our public data are available free, online. Our website contains data selected to be relevant to policymakers and decisionmakers on a variety of topics and issues—notably animal products, crops, farm economy, farm practices and management, food and nutrition assistance, food choices and health, food markets and prices, food safety, international markets and trade, natural resources and the environment, and rural economy and population. We provide data in various forms and formats to suit users’ needs, as well as tools to enable exploring the data—ranging from chart collections to data files, queriable applications, and interactive mapping. Some highlights:

Some of our public data sets are based on tabulations of confidential micro-level data. ERS addresses more detailed data needs by expanding specialized access while protecting data confidentiality and quality:

  • ERS partners with the National Opinion Research Center to provide access to confidential micro data in a secure environment for qualified analysts working on approved research projects. This partnership has improved the efficiency and effectiveness with which sensitive Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data are managed and accessed.
  • Special requests and tabulations
  • Formal data-sharing agreements

We’re Committed to Sharing

Engage users. Whether for products under development, or following release on the website, we seek stakeholder input and provide mechanisms for feedback. ERS participates in a number of venues, such as at the annual Data Users’ Conference, where we update data users on recent and pending changes in various statistical and market analysis programs important to U.S. agriculture. We seek comments and input on these programs, in conjunction with other sister agencies involved in USDA commodity estimates.

Expand access. ERS participates with other USDA statistical agencies (Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and World Agricultural Outlook Board) in USDA’s Economics, Statistics, and Market Information System, housed at Cornell University’s Mann Library. This collaborative system maintains an online repository of current and historical economic and statistical information (over 2,500 reports and data sets) covering U.S. and international agriculture and related topics. Links to ERS data products also may be found on data.gov.

Forge partnerships. As a principal federal statistical agency, ERS plays an important leadership role in the statistical, economic, and scientific data communities. ERS co-chairs the Interagency Council on Agricultural and Rural Statistics (ICARS) as well as several ICARS Working Groups such as the Land Use/Land Cover Working Group. ERS also chairs the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Administrative Records Subcommittee’s Informed Consent Working Group.

Plans for the Future

ERS will continue to invest to ensure high quality data products that meet OMB guidelines and practices of statistical organizations. We are committed to furthering the goals of Open Data and to providing valuable, relevant, and accessible data to meet the highest priority needs of our customers and stakeholders.

Last updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013

For more information contact: Website Administrator

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