menu Welcome to NASDA Welcome to NASDA Welcome to NASDA Welcome to NASDA menu About this Course This course is designed to help you learn more about NASDA and your new role as an Enumerator. You’ll learn about: – The state of agriculture in the U.S. today. You’ll learn about the types of people who work in the industry, and why information is important to them. – What NASDA and NASS are all about, and how their relationship serves U.S. agriculture and both state and federal governments. – The skills, tasks and tools you’ll need to be successful as an Enumerator. Welcome to NASDA menu About this Course This course is designed specifically for newly hired Field Enumerators. You may see it presented as part of your initial training, or you may have the opportunity to take it online by yourself. In either case, when you complete the course, you will be asked to take a test. Your test results will be kept on file as part of your employee record to verify that you have been trained. menu Today’s Agricultural Environment There… Today’s Agricultural Environment Today’s Agricultural Environment menu What’s in This Section In this section, we will examine the state of agriculture in the U.S. today. During the next 15 minutes, you will learn about current trends in our industry. You’ll also better understand how the information you’ll be gathering reflects – and affects – those trends. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Agriculture as an Industry The agricultural industry is one of change and transition. No longer a local, family-based industry, farming is now big business. In 2005, farming assets were estimated to be worth $1.5 billion in the U.S. – and net cash income from farming was estimated at $64.4 billion. Large farms earn an average of $500,000 in gross sales annually. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Agriculture as an Industry Agriculture makes a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy and to the lives of American citizens. Only about 2% of the American population actually produces food – yet that 2% feeds the entire nation. In addition, U.S. farmers also feed about 70 million people abroad. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Agricultural Community The agricultural community includes a wide range of people and businesses. It can include anyone working in the production and processing of any product that is harvested or processed in the U.S. It is estimated that the agriculture industry employs nearly 15% of the American workforce – that’s nearly 25 million individuals. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Agricultural Community INPUT SECTOR Employment in the agricultural industry mainly falls into one of three prominent sectors: – The input sector PRODUCTION – The production sector, and SECTOR – The output sector OUTPUT SECTOR Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Input Sector Supplies farmers and ranchers with seed, fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, machinery, fuel, etc. •Examples: • John Deere (farm machinery) PRODUCTION • Dow AgroScience (crop protection) SECTOR • Purina (animal feed) OUTPUT SECTOR Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Production Sector Produces raw agricultural products, and consists of INPUT SECTOR farmers and ranchers, as well as producer cooperatives (corporations owned by their members) •Examples: • Sunkist • Associated Milk Producers OUTPUT SECTOR Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Output Sector Processes and markets raw and value-added products to INPUT SECTOR the public •Examples: • Tyson (poultry processing) PRODUCTION • Kraft (processed foods) SECTOR Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Changes Affecting Agriculture Agriculture in the U.S. is constantly evolving. It is a challenge for the people who serve the agricultural community to keep up. From small producers to agribusiness executives, everyone in the industry needs to be better informed if they want to stay competitive. Busy lawmakers must stay in touch with the trends and realities of the industry to better represent their constituents. In both cases, communication and information exchange is critical. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Changes Affecting Agriculture Improvements throughout the industry – mechanization, technology, crop protection, and developments in genetic modification – are all having a huge impact on the industry. In addition, people in the industry are changing themselves. The number of producers and the size of farms and ranches is shifting. The number of traditional farms is decreasing, while large farms and hobby farms are increasing in number. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Changes Affecting Agriculture Agricultural professionals are now able to easily track and analyze data about their own operations and performance. When we gather accurate, useable data about the various changes occurring within the sectors, we are creating a powerful informational tool that benefits everyone from individual producers to businesses at every level. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Discussion Time Information is the key element to the ongoing success of the agricultural industry. True False Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Discussion Time Information is the key element to the ongoing success of the agricultural industry. True False The answer is True. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Discussion Time Answer the following questions by checking the correct box. Multiple Answer – Check all that apply The following are factors in the changing landscape of agriculture. Mechanization Farm Size Weather Prediction Crop Protection Today’s Agricultural Environment menu Discussion Time Answer the following questions by checking the correct box. Multiple Answer – Check all that apply The following are factors in the changing landscape of agriculture. Mechanization Farm Size Weather Prediction Crop Protection The answer is Mechanization, Farm Size, and Crop Protection. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Importance of Information Even for the most traditional farmer, agriculture is first and foremost a business. For these folks, profitability, stability, and the financial health of their families are at stake. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Importance of Information As with any business, information is critical --information about the markets, product demand and potential, new technologies, trends, and competitive performance. This information must be available and accessible for farms to continue to function well. Access to timely, accurate information is enabling everyone in the agricultural community to make better decisions and become more successful. Today’s Agricultural Environment menu The Importance of Information It’s our job at NASDA to gather and organize this information from thousands of people in the agricultural community across the country. We gather it in a confidential, systematic, unbiased way – and the results, once made public, are a benefit to the entire industry. menu About NASDA and NASS A… About NASS and NASDA About NASDA and NASS menu What’s in This Section For the next 10 minutes, we’ll take a close look at NASDA, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and NASS, the National Agricultural Statistics Service. We’ll explore NASDA and NASS, their relationship, and how they serve the U.S. agricultural community, as well as state and federal governments. About NASDA and NASS menu Who is NASDA? Formed in 1915, The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, or NASDA, has one mission. To support and promote the American agriculture industry, while protecting consumers and the environment, through the development, implementation and communication of sound public policy and programs. About NASDA and NASS menu Who is NASDA? NASDA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non- profit and bi-partisan organization. NASDA’s membership consists of Commissioners, Secretaries and Directors of Agriculture from the 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands About NASDA and NASS menu NASDA and NASS In 1972, NASDA formed an agreement with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS, an agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture, seeks to provide meaningful, accurate and objective statistical information to serve the United States and its agricultural communities. About NASDA and NASS menu NASDA and NASS NASS regularly surveys thousands of operators of farms and agribusinesses who voluntarily provide information on a confidential basis. NASS then consolidates and publishes this information on a state, regional and national basis. About NASDA and NASS menu NASDA and NASS NASDA, in cooperation with NASS, employs Enumerators to collect this data. These employees work on behalf of their state’s NASS field office, but are hired, trained, managed and employed by NASDA. About NASDA and NASS menu NASDA and NASS Enumerators gather information about production, supplies, marketing, prices, the weather and many other topics that directly affect or influence agriculture. An Enumerator may gather this information face to face, by mail or by phone, using the questionnaires and materials provided by the state NASS Field Office. About NASDA and NASS menu About NASDA and NASS Discussion Time Determine which Employs Gathers Trains Publish bucket each items Part of reports Enumerators Information Enumerators goes into. USDA locally NASDA NASS About NASDA and NASS menu Discussion Time Answers Employs Trains Part of Enumerators Enumerators USDA NASDA NASS Gathers Publish Information reports locally About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? The information that is gathered by Enumerators is used by a number of different entities in the agriculture industry. – Farmers and ranchers – Farm organizations – Processors – Agribusinesses – Media – Local, state and federal government agencies – Congress About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? Farmers and Ranchers use information about yields and prices to help plan how much and what they will grow or raise. They also use NASS statistics to monitor industry trends and to stay ahead of them, maximizing the positive impact of new developments, legislation and technology. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? Farmers and Ranchers can also benefit from being able to compare their own planting progress and crop conditions to the regional averages. They may also use the information when negotiating with insurance companies and banks. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? Farm Organizations are able to use NASS data to plan, create and implement useful, relevant programs to aid the production and profitability of their members. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? As they support the production sector, Processors use the data to be better prepared as industry production levels shift. Because they can better anticipate yields, they can ramp up or down when needed, keeping costs down and prices lower. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? Agribusinesses use NASS information to make decisions about setting up new offices and facilities, to spot sales opportunities, and to anticipate the changing needs of their customers. Financial organizations use the data to offer advice and make credit and financing decisions for their clients. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? The Media often use agricultural statistics to create context for important news stories. Industry-specific and mainstream media use this information to better inform their audience and to promote issues in the industry. About NASDA and NASS menu Who Uses This Data? The information is used by Government Agencies to make and administer key legislative decisions for the agriculture industry. This data is also used to create and evaluate programs that encourage productivity and facilitate success of the American agricultural community. At every level – from local extension services to Congress and the White House – agricultural statistics are an invaluable tool for governmental decision makers and the citizens they serve. About NASDA and NASS menu Discussion Time - Match each type of user with the ways they might use NASS data. Farmers and Ranchers • Create and administer legislation • Serve producers more cost-effectively Farm Organizations • Promote industry issues in context Processors • Plan and develop relevant programs Agribusinesses • Identify and act on business Media opportunities • Make decisions about what and how Gov. Agencies much to grow About NASDA and NASS menu Discussion Time – Here is what you should have said… Gov. Agencies • Create and administer legislation • Serve producers more cost-effectively Processors • Promote industry issues in context Media • Plan and develop relevant programs Farm Organizations • Identify and act on business Agribusinesses opportunities • Make decisions about what and how Farmers and Ranchers much to grow About NASDA and NASS menu NASS’s Top Priority Safeguarding the privacy of farmers, ranchers, and other data providers is NASS’s top priority. NASS ensures that data is secure, confidential and reported in public press releases from the State Field Offices or via the internet at: www.nass.usda.gov About NASDA and NASS menu NASS’s Top Priority The statistics and data gathered by NASDA and published by NASS have helped to create a stable economic atmosphere and reduced the risk in production, marketing and distribution for the US agriculture industry for over 125 years. menu Your Role Now, let’s ethics Your Role Your Role menu What’s in This Section Now, let’s take a look at your role as a Field Enumerator within NASDA. In this section, we’ll explore – How NASDA is structured – Key characteristics and skills you need to be successful on the job – The nature of your employment – Tasks you may be doing – Tools you may be using – Ways to communicate with your colleagues – How to work safely – NASDA’s policies on honesty, confidentiality and ethics Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Commissioner, Secretary or Director Board of Directors NASDA is governed by the Commissioner, the EVP and CEO Secretary or the Director (CSDs) of each state’s Department of Agriculture. COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Board of Directors EVP and CEO Board of Directors The CSDs delegate direct oversight of NASDA to a EVP and CEO Board of Directors. This 10-member board employs an Executive Vice President and Chief Executive COO PM FM MIS Officer. This position manages the day-to-day operations of NASDA. Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD COO, PM, FM, MIS Board of Directors The EVP works closely with the Chief Operating EVP and CEO Officer, the Program Manager, the Financial Manager, and the Manager of Information Services. COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Board of Chief Operating Officer Directors … oversees financial activities, employee relations, EVP and CEO and NASDA Supervisory Enumerators. COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Board of Program Manager Directors …establishes employee procedures and coordinates EVP and CEO with state offices regarding personnel issues COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Board of Financial Manager Directors …oversees payroll and disbursements EVP and CEO COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Board of Manager Of Information Services Directors …provides corporate information through various EVP and CEO media, both internal and external. COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASDA How NASDA is Structured CSD Supervisor Board of Directors NASDA Supervisors maintain a trained pool of EVP and CEO Enumerators and are authorized to advertise vacancies, hire candidates, assign and evaluate work COO PM FM MIS and promote or dismiss Enumerators. The Supervisor will be your primary point of contact. Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu NASS NASDA How NASDA is Structured NASS CSD State Directors Supervisor Board of Directors NASDA Supervisors manage NASS EVP and CEO work to fulfill the needs of the Deputy Directors NASS Statisticians who design COO PM FM MIS the surveys. To facilitate communications between these NASDA two groups, NASS employs a Supervisor NASDA Coordinator to be the Coordinators primary source of contact with NASS. Field and Office Enumerators NASDA Your Role menu How NASDA is Structured CSD Field Enumerators Board of Directors Enumerators are the “gatherers” of information. EVP and CEO Field Enumerators are generally part-time employees who work out of their home and COO PM FM MIS conduct both face-to-face and phone interviews. Field Enumerators also spend time in the field, Supervisor gathering samples and counting crops. The nature of this work is seasonal and intermittent. Hours are also unpredictable, since Field Enumerators must try to coordinate their Field and Office Enumerators schedules with the people they are interviewing. NASDA Your Role menu How NASDA is Structured CSD Office Enumerators Board of Directors Office Enumerators work in their state’s NASS EVP and CEO office and conduct interviews over the telephone. They also prepare surveys and sometimes COO PM FM MIS process the samples collected by Field Enumerators. Supervisor Office Enumerators’ work is also intermittent and generally part-time. Because it is sometimes difficult to reach respondents during the work day, Office Enumerators often work in the evenings or Field and Office Enumerators on weekends. Your Role menu The NASS Relationship NASS employees coordinate and direct NASDA projects. NASS employees – Decide which tasks need to be completed – Select the best methods and survey criteria – Prioritize tasks – Evaluate the quality of the work, based on the standards set at the beginning of the project. Your Role menu Discussion Time – Place each role in the pyramid NASDA Field and Office Enumerators Supervisors COO, PM, FM, MIS EVP and CEO CSDs NASDA Your Role menu Discussion Time CSD Board of Directors EVP and CEO COO PM FM MIS Supervisor Field and Office Enumerators Your Role menu The Successful Field Enumerator For the next few minutes, let’s take a look at the key characteristics that a successful Field Enumerator possesses. Many of these characteristics you may already have – that’s why you’ve been hired. It’s rare, though, for someone just starting out to be “perfect.” Just make note of areas you need to work on and try to continuously improve. Ask your supervisor if you want help or extra coaching. Your Role menu Discussion Time - Go through the list and determine the characteristics you already have. Make note of things you think you will need to work on. These are just a few items to look at. PROFESSIONAL DRESS Characteristics of a Successful Field Enumerator Has a basic knowledge of agriculture Has common sense Has the ability to understand complex instructions Has the discipline to work independently Has good people skills, and the ability to persuade and enlist cooperation Maintains a professional appearance and demeanor Your Role menu The Enumerator as an Employee An Enumerator’s work is seasonal. Because some surveys are designed to be only applicable during certain times of year, and because you may need to work around respondent’s schedules, you will not work regular hours. There may be times when no work is available – and other times when you will be extremely busy. You may also be asked to work on weekends or holidays. Your Role menu The Enumerator as an Employee An Enumerator is allowed 1,500 hours of work per year. In certain circumstances you may be eligible for overtime. Any overtime must be authorized by the supervisor. Enumerators are part-time employees, making them ineligible for full-time benefits. It is also important to note that unemployment benefits are unavailable during active NASDA work sessions. Check your NASDA Enumerator Handbook for more information. Your Role menu Discussion Time It is critical that an Enumerator has good communication skills that instill trust and develop a professional relationship. True False Your Role menu Discussion Time It is critical that an Enumerator has good communication skills that instill trust and develop a professional relationship. True False True Your Role menu Discussion Time An Enumerator is allowed to work 2,000 hours in a given year. True False Your Role menu Discussion Time An Enumerator is allowed to work 2,000 hours in a given year. True False False Your Role menu The Job of the Field Enumerator Now let’s take a look at the job itself. The Field Enumerator is responsible for the following tasks: •Setting up and keeping appointments •Interviewing operators or other agriculture-related professionals by phone or in person •Asking questions and listening to responses without “leading” the conversation Your Role menu The Job of the Field Enumerator The Field Enumerator is responsible for the following tasks (continued): •Obtaining permission to enter fields, and be physically able to access property while carrying equipment •Using survey equipment to accurately stake and measure sample areas •Reading aerial photos and acreage grids, and drawing maps of sampled areas •Identifying agricultural crops and commodities •Making crop counts in designated fields Your Role menu The Job of the Field Enumerator The Field Enumerator is responsible for the following tasks (continued): •Delivering timely, detailed, legible records of interviews and crop counts by the designated deadline •Having a valid driver’s license and having access to a dependable vehicle that is insured •Have a working telephone and be prepared to work from home •Represent NASDA and NASS as a professional at all times Your Role menu The Tools You Will Use To be effective at your job, you will learn to use certain tools: •Navigational aids, like maps, GPS systems, PLATT books, aerial photographs, and MapQuest •Survey questionnaires and handbooks •Calculators, scales and calipers Your Role menu About Training Because the surveys vary, you will be required to attend regular training sessions. These workshops will teach you to use these tools effectively as they are needed for specific projects and surveys. Your Role menu Administrative Tasks Along with your information-gathering responsibilities, you will be expected to do basic administrative tasks like: – Receiving, organizing, and returning surveys, aerial photography, and other tools via mail – Tracking and submitting your mileage, time and other expenses – Monitoring and requesting supplies as needed – Providing proof of insurance and re-signing the pledge of confidentiality annually Your Role menu Communication Within the Organization NASS Field Office Each Enumerator is assigned to a Supervisor, Director and reports directly to that Supervisor. Supervisors are ultimately responsible for hiring, NASDA handing out assignments and evaluating an Coordinator Supervisor Enumerator’s performance. It is critical that the (NASS Employee) lines of communication between the Enumerator and the Supervisor remain open at all times! Enumerator Enumerators are responsible for reporting all Communicates directly accidents (no matter how small) to the supervisor with his or her Supervisor. within 24 hours of the occurrence. All other (unless Supervisor is unavailable) incidents need to be reported in timely manner. Your Role menu Communication within the Organization NASS Field Office If the supervisor is unavailable, an Enumerator Director can contact the following team members at the NASS office. NASDA Coordinator – The NASDA Coordinator is in charge of Supervisor (NASS Employee) all surveys and is the contact for technical information. – The NASDA Field Office Director is responsible for public relations issues in Enumerator your state. Communicates directly with his or her Supervisor. (unless Supervisor is unavailable) Your Role menu Safety Tips NASDA is committed to ensuring the safety of its employees at all times. Enumerators should follow common-sense safety precautions. In fields On the road Around animals In bad weather Around people Your Role menu Safety Tips - AROUND ANIMALS Ask respondents to restrain dogs during your visit. If your approach a farm and see a threatening animal, do not leave your car until the animal is restrained. Your Role menu Safety Tips - IN FIELDS Enumerators can sustain cuts, scratches, bruises and sprains in the course of entering a farmer’s property. Take care to avoid falls, especially if you are carrying something. Treat any injury in an appropriate manner to prevent the spread of infection. Report any accidents to your supervisor within 24 hours. Your Role menu Safety Tips - IN BAD WEATHER Pay attention to weather forecasts as you plan your visits. Ice, lightening, heavy snow, hail or tornadoes can put you in jeopardy if you are in unfamiliar territory. Stay home, or stop work and take cover if weather conditions are threatening. Your Role menu Safety Tips - ON THE ROAD Practice safe driving habits. Never try to read maps or use cell phones while moving. Keep your car gassed up and in good repair, and make allowances for road conditions and your own physical state. Never speed to make up time – and always wear your seat belt. Your Role menu Safety Tips - ON THE ROAD In general the people you meet are friendly and not a threat physically to you. However, in rare instances you may come in contact with someone who threatens you. If this happens, contact your Supervisor and NASDA Coordinator immediately. Your Role menu Honesty and Integrity It is impossible to stress the importance of honesty enough. Records must be accurate. The credibility of the data and the reputation of NASS and NASDA rest solely on our accuracy and integrity. Your Role menu Honesty and Integrity It is critical to record data in a timely fashion – never try to memorize answers and record them after your call. Such entries are notoriously inaccurate! Never falsify data of any kind. The submission of false or fabricated records is cause for immediate dismissal. If you suspect that a responder is deliberately falsifying his or her responses, contact your supervisor. Your Role menu Confidentiality and the Enumerator Much of the information that is gathered in surveys is personal and sensitive. Respondents are only willing to give out this kind of information if they completely trust the Enumerator and the organization he or she works for. Your Role menu Confidentiality and the Enumerator The laws and regulations governing NASS guarantee respondents that the information they give will be kept strictly confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only. In order to protect this public trust, you will be asked to sign a Confidentiality Certificate before you begin employment as a Field Enumerator. Your Role menu Confidentiality and the Enumerator You should never collect data over a cell phone, since cell phone conversations are not truly secure. Collected data must never be shared or discussed with anyone who is not a NASDA or NASS employee. Data may not be used for any other purpose! Enumerators must not discuss data among themselves, with family, friends, or colleagues. Your Role menu Confidentiality and the Enumerator All data collected and any survey materials are the property of NASS and must be returned to the supervisor or the NASS office. No breach of confidentiality will be tolerated. Such a breach is cause for immediate dismissal. Violators may also face a fine of $250,000 and a possible sentence of up to five years imprisonment. Your Role menu Discussion Time Breaches of confidentiality will result in… (check all that apply) Immediate dismissal Up to $250,000 in possible fines Up to 5 years possible imprisonment Your Role menu Discussion Time Breaches of confidentiality will result in… (check all that apply) Immediate dismissal Up to $250,000 in possible fines Up to 5 years possible imprisonment All are correct! You will be dismissed, and fines and imprisonment are also possible. Your Role menu Ethics in NASDA Surveys and interviews may not be delegated to any other individual and must be completed by the assigned Enumerator. While on NASDA business, an Enumerator should display appropriate NASDA identification badges. No other business or political identification may be distributed. Your Role menu Ethics in NASDA Political activity is not permitted while conducting NASDA business. It is neither necessary or appropriate to comment on or defend any local, state or federal program while officially representing NASDA. Your Role menu Ethics in NASDA All NASS office equipment, such as phones, faxes and copiers are for NASS and NASDA business only. NASDA employees must abide by all regulations restricting drugs, tobacco, alcohol, weapons, bigotry, sexism, etc. applied to offices housed in state or federal buildings. See your NASDA Enumerator Handbook for more details. Your Role menu Ethics in NASDA All in all, be mindful of the fact that you are a NASDA employee. Your are being entrusted with an important task – one that contributes immeasurably to the agricultural industry and the American economy as a whole. Be proud of that fact – and take that responsibility seriously! menu A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator All in all, be A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu What’s in This Section Now we’re going to see what this job is like from an Enumerator’s point of view… A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu What’s in This Section This is April. April has been a Field Enumerator for several years, and she’s terrific at her job. Let’s listen as she tells us a little about herself, and what it’s like to be a Field Enumerator for NASDA. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Meet April Hi! I’m April. First of all, I’ll bet you’re wondering how I happened to choose this job. I do know a little about farming – I live in a rural community and my husband and I operate a family farm ourselves. Like most folks, we look for opportunities to “fill in the gaps.” So when I heard about this job, it seemed perfect, because it’s part time and the hours are flexible. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Meet April I know the industry, and I have personal relationships with some of the people I survey. I understands the challenges they face. As a result, I think people tend to be more comfortable dealing with me, and it’s easier to gain their trust. That doesn’t mean you have to be a farmer to be a good Enumerator– but being able to establish trust is important. But let’s start at the beginning. You want to know how I start my day. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu The Assignment My supervisor contacts me when she’s got work for me. Often, if a survey is new or different, she’ll send me to a training workshop first, so I’ll learn about the purpose of the survey and how to administer it – how to ask the questions, what they mean, and how to interpret answers if necessary. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu The Assignment There’s always a specific, limited time period when a survey is conducted. When the survey is about to begin, I’ll get a packet of materials – the survey forms themselves, maps, a list of people or locations to visit, and maybe other reference materials. These might come by mail, or my supervisor might meet me in person if she needs to go over anything. I like to go through the materials beforehand, so I have time to ask questions if I need to. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Appointments Depending on the nature of the survey and the people involved, I make a decision about whether to call or visit the respondents. If the survey is short, it can save a lot of time if I do it over the phone--but most of the time, if a survey’s given to a Field Enumerator, it’s because a visit is needed. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Appointments The next decision is about whether to try to make an appointment. Some people prefer the courtesy of a call. Others are tough to reach, or don’t want to be bothered, so they try to avoid you. With folks like that, it’s easier if you catch them without warning – it’s harder for them to say no when I’m already standing in their yard! A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Appointments I keep a calendar just for NASDA appointments. You need to make sure you allow enough time to get from one place to the next, especially if you’re visiting someplace for the first time. I also allow extra time for folks I know will want to chit- chat -- of course, I try not to waste too much time, but sometimes that personal connection pays off next time you need to visit. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Appointments I also block off time for people who don’t have appointments--but you have to be flexible about this. If you show up without an appointment, folks may not be home, or they may be in the middle of something they can’t interrupt. You may have to go back a second, or even a third time. So if they can’t talk to me on the first visit I try to at least get them to agree to do the survey. That enables you to make an appointment for the second visit if necessary. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Appointments It’s also important to plan your appointments with location in mind. I always try to do visits in the same area on the same day – otherwise you can end up driving all over a couple of counties, and waste a lot of time on the road. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Planning the Visit One thing you must have is a good, current map! You may be going to some out-of-the-way places, and you don’t want to get lost. Some people even use compasses and GPS systems. If you know how to use Internet map sites like MapQuest, you can get great directions from one place to the next. But I also keep good paper maps in my truck at all times so I can stay oriented. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Planning the Visit A cell phone is pretty useful if you have one. It allows you make appointments, check directions, or make sure someone is home – but you should never gather survey data on a cell phone. It isn’t secure enough meet our data security standards. Of course, you need to bring all your survey materials. I also pack a clipboard, a calculator, pens and pencils, timesheets and expense records, and a notepad. I keep all of this in a container I can carry in and out of my truck, and easily lock up if I need to. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Planning the Visit One of the rules is that you have to identify yourself clearly. I have a sign I put in the truck window, and I wear a badge. I also carry NASDA business cards, in case someone wants to verify my identity. It’s a lot of stuff to remember. You may want to practice making a checklist for yourself, to make sure you don’t forget anything. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Discussion Time Discuss the items you’ll want to take along. •_____________________________________________ •_____________________________________________ •_____________________________________________ •_____________________________________________ •_____________________________________________ A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Discussion Time These are just a few items you’ll want to take along. •Survey materials •Maps •Cell Phone •Business Cards •Badge •Appointment books •Expense reports •Time cards A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Getting There NASDA puts a high priority on safety. I spend a lot of time on the road – so driving carefully is a really important part of my job. We’re required to wear seatbelts. And we’re encouraged to use common sense and pull well off the road when using the cell phone, looking at maps, or trying to ask for directions. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Getting There Here we are at our first stop. Some people are pretty particular about how and where you park when you’re visiting. I try to always use the driveway and sidewalks. I also keep an eye out for dogs. Most of them are friendly enough, but if a dog isn’t wagging his tail, growls or seems nervous, I stay away from it. If the dog seems really aggressive, I don’t even get out of the car until the owner has restrained the dog. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Contact Let’s see if these folks are home. Hear how I introduce myself. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Making Contact Good morning! I’m April Jones, with NASDA. I'm a collecting confidential data on behalf of USDA’s NASS Indiana office. We’re conducting a survey on crop production. Is Mr. Edwards at home? OK. I know this is a busy time of year for him. Since he’s unavailable, will you please let him know I’ll stop back by tomorrow afternoon? Here’s my card. Thank you! A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Dealing with Reluctance Well, this respondent isn’t at home right now. I’ll have to check in with him again tomorrow. If he gets the message, I think he’ll make a point to be here – he’s usually very cooperative. Sometimes, though, people try to avoid me. In my area, usually the reason they give is that they feel the survey questions are intrusive – some of the questions are pretty personal. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Dealing with Reluctance When they feel that way, I have to get creative – if I see them out in the field, I might approach them there. Or I might stop by on a Sunday evening, at a time they don’t expect me. I’ve even tracked them down at work, if they have a second job. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Dealing with Reluctance Once I get their attention, I need to be a bit of a salesman. A lot of respondents have concerns. They usually want to know who I am and may want to know more about the organization. They also sometimes want to know why they’ve been chosen. They ask about how long it will take and how difficult it will be --and they want to know what’s in it for them. If I’ve done my homework, I can answer all of these concerns. I remind them of all the ways the industry will benefit from the survey, and how important they are to the process. It’s also really important to stress that the information they give will be completely confidential. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Here’s the next farm on the list. I was here a few months ago, and this respondent may take a little more care. He doesn’t really like answering the questions, but we’ve established a relationship now, and I’m going to take advantage of it. Looks like this man is spraying his orchard. Let’s give him a try. You can listen in, if you like. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Hi, Mr. Clark. Do you remember me? I’m April Jones with NASDA. I’m working on another confidential survey on behalf of USDA’s NASS office, and could use your help. By the way, how’s your spraying coming along? Have you seen any of those apple maggots in your area? They’re having a real problem with them down to the south. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Mr. Clark is a really good example of what you can do if you handle someone the right way. The first time I came out, he didn’t want to talk with me at all – he practically ran me off his property. But I tried to stay professional, and was persistent. He eventually agreed to do a survey. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Afterward, when the results were published, I sent him a copy of the report so he could see exactly how the information was used. The next time I visited, his attitude was completely different – he said he felt, for the first time, like his opinions mattered to someone. That made me feel really good. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Every survey’s a little different. We might be asking about crops, about animals, or any of a dozen other topics that are related to the farming community. That’s why we’re trained on each new survey. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport There are specific techniques we’re taught about asking questions and interpreting answers. For example, you have to be careful not to “reword” a question, because sometimes you can inadvertently change the meaning. And you have to be sure to capture answers immediately – not wait until later. That’s an important point, because it’s really easy to forget exactly what someone said. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Sometimes the respondent goes off on a tangent. Last time I was here, Mr. Clark spent ten minutes expressing some very strong opinions about the government. It's not appropriate for us to represent or support any political viewpoint. Even when someone gets really worked up, you can’t take it personally. The professional thing to do is to empathize, but tactfully come back to the point, without ruffling feathers. Listening patiently helped him feel like he’d made his point, and the rest of the survey went just fine. Do you want to know how I handled it? A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Establishing Rapport Well, Mr. Clark, I certainly understand how you feel. I have a farm, too, so we’re in the same boat. One of the reasons we gather information from you about your business is so that the lawmakers and government agencies have a more accurate understanding of the realities of farming today. That can help them make better decisions about what it takes to serve your needs. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Refusals Of course, there are people who are simply not going to participate, no matter what you say. It happens only in a small percentage of cases, but it does happen. In those situations, there’s not a lot you can do, except acknowledge and indicate their refusal. Of course, if the respondent is hostile or scares you in any way, you should report it to your supervisor. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Sampling Sometimes the job involves staking out an area in someone’s field and taking samples. We’re given the tools and specific instructions about how to do those samples. Sometimes we have to carry a lot of equipment – and it can be muddy work. Weather is always a factor we need to keep in mind. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Staying Safe In those situations you need to follow some basic safety rules. You might find yourself alone in rough terrain, sometimes carrying heavy equipment. You might get caught out in severe weather or after dark. You might end up in a situation with unfamiliar animals, people or conditions that make you uncomfortable. When you work for NASDA, your safety comes first – remember that, and make decisions accordingly. Fortunately, these situations are pretty rare. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Reinforcing Participation Most of the people I deal with are helpful and pleasant. I try to always reinforce a cooperative attitude by making sure I thank them and acknowledge their contribution. I let them know how much I appreciate their support, and how important their opinions are. If they are interested, I offer to send them a finished report. And I remind them about all of the ways that information is going to be valuable – and all the people it will help. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Reinforcing Participation A lot of times I know there will be follow-up visits. So I make an effort to ensure that I’ve developed the kind of relationship that will make the next visit a welcome one. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Keeping Track of Time and Expenses After each trip, I record my time and mileage on my NASDA Time, Mileage and Expense Sheet. These forms are just like a time-clock – so accuracy is important. I try to make this routine, so I never skip this step. My time and activities vary so much from day to day, that if I didn’t write things down right away I’d surely forget something. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Completed Work Another thing I try to do routinely is make sure I keep all of the information well-organized. I use these envelopes to keep everything straight--but no matter what system you use, use it consistently. Accuracy is the bottom line. And anything you can do to systematically ensure accurate, complete results is worth the effort. Once everything in this stack is completed, I return it all to my supervisor, and it gets compiled with the work of other Enumerators. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Completed Work Because confidentiality is so important, there are some things I do to personally ensure things are safe while they’re in my possession. When I’m not using them, the survey results are kept in a locked file drawer in my house. I never, ever make copies of anything. And I never discuss the results with anyone outside NASDA, not even my family. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu Working Throughout the Year The work is irregular, but I kind of like that. There are times when I’m really busy, but also times when I can relax and spend more time with my family. I always have the choice. There are the occasional training sessions, but those are fun – an opportunity to meet other Enumerators, exchange ideas and learn from each other. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu The Joys of the Job The most important advantage is the flexibility of hours. My daily schedule is frequently driven by my children and their needs. It’s great to have a job where I can control what I hours I work. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu The Joys of the Job Not having to go into an office is great, too. I’m not stuck in a cubicle -- I meet new people and make new friends every day. I’m outdoors, spending time in some of the most beautiful country around. A Day in the Life of a Field Enumerator menu The Joys of the Job Best of all, I’m staying in touch with my industry and my community. I learn every day from this job --- it gives me a perspective I would never otherwise have on agriculture as a business and a lifestyle. Living on a farm has given me so much – I love knowing that I’m giving something back, that I’m doing something that matters to the people I work and live with. Being an Enumerator is a great job – you’re going to love it! menu The Best Questions?
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