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Program is Subject to Change
Measuring Women in Agriculture (307941)*Heather Ridolfo, National Agricultural Statistics Service
Keywords: Questionnaire Design, demographics
The COA serves as one of the main sources of information on characteristics of U.S. farmers and ranchers. Historically, NASS used the COA to measure demographic characteristics of up to three farm operators and one principal operator. Operators are defined as persons responsible for making the day-to-day decisions for the farm, and a principal operator is the person primarily responsible for the onsite, day-to-day operation of the farm. Data from the 2012 COA showed that 30 percent of all operators were women, and only 14 percent of principal operators were women. As a result, many stakeholders expressed concerns that NASS was undercounting the number of women operators. In preparation for the 2017 COA, NASS conducted extensive cognitive interviewing and a large scale field test to evaluate changes to the questionnaire. The most significant changes to the questionnaire were to stop using the terms “operator” and “principal operator” and instead measure these constructs by asking about decision-making behaviors, and to allow for joint decision making and for multiple decision makers. Beginning in 2017, these individuals will be referred to as producers and principal producers in the COA publications. This presentation will be provide a brief overview on the motivation behind these changes and then provide an overview of the changes made to the questionnaire.