USDA Surveys – how to tell if it’s legitimate?

Modesto, Calif., (January 16, 2017) – This week we received a call at the office from a concerned member who was asked to participate in a tallow survey. The person calling identified himself as a USDA employee. While there are plenty of phone surveys going around, this particular one sounded suspicious (typically dairy producers are not asked to participate in the tallow survey, which is geared toward ag businesses).

If you get a call, you should know: each government agency should be able to provide a link to the questionnaire online, a letter about the survey, or something to show the survey isn’t fake. Employees calling for surveys should also state their last name and what agency they are affiliated with. If you have any doubts, please call us at the office and we can take the necessary steps to determine the legitimacy of the call. You can also contact Curt Stock, Deputy Regional Director at USDA at (916) 498-8935.

As a heads-up, USDA will be conducting a dairy cost of production survey in the coming months. If you are a selected participant (lucky you!), you should have received (or will receive) a postcard in the mail. USDA staff will be going around in upcoming months to gather data. This is different from CDFA’s cost of production study, which only targets California. This valuable US wide information is collected by USDA very infrequently, so if you get selected we encourage you to consider the value in participating. You can also rest assured your personal information will be kept confidential.

California’s cost of production has changed dramatically in recent years, and the only way to get a benchmark measure on how the recent regulations impact you is by collecting data directly from you. If you were selected and decline to participate, USDA cannot replace you, and the sample size is directly weakened. If you have any questions on this, please feel free to contact Annie by phone or at aacmoody@westernuniteddairymen.com.

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