A Sure Sign Of (eventual) Spring

One of the surest signs of spring, at least when you’re involved with agriculture on the Northern Plains, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual prospective plantings  report.

On the off chance you don’t know already: the report, issued in late March by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, estimates how many acres will be planted to major crops nationwide and in individual states. The report often influences crop prices and farmers’ final planting decisions.

Read my story on the 2013 report at www.agweek.com/event/article/id/20701/.

I always enjoy visiting with farmers and commodity group leaders about the report. These folks — who have both a broad and deep knowledge of their particular crop — often disagree with what USDA is projecting.

For my part, I accept that NASS is making its best estimate, using the information available at the time.

Planting won’t begin anytime soon in northeast North Dakota, where I live and work. Snow is still piled deep. But USDA’s planting intentions report is out, and that tells me spring will arrive eventually.