How does USDA/NASS set county yields?
From the top down not the bottom up.
NASS comes up with a National Total, which is then divided into State Totals and then further divided into individual county yields. This did not matter much years ago, except for bragging rights, but now with crop insurance products using county yields to determine what farmers will get paid or not get paid for that particular type of insurance, these yields are very important.
Depending on what the yield is can mean huge differences in crop insurance payouts for county yield dependent insurance policies.
And, if farmers could prove that NASS is too high on a particular county yield then what other county are you going to add those bushels to? Since it all has to add up to the State Total and the State Totals have to add up to the National Total. So that is why I say the yields are determined from the top down instead of the bottom up.
I discuss the effects of this process, how it affects individual farmers and how I think USDA could use it resources to come up with more accurate numbers.
But, that would mean probably re-structuring USDA.
I discuss how I think the Department could be structured to do a better job for the Farmers and Ranchers of these United States.
Entrenched interests from career employees to political appointees, to farm and ranch organizations would be against most of this.