The reorganization of the National Ag Statistics Service is underway and the first change in Indiana is when Greg Matli moves from acting director of the state office to the State Statistician, Great Lakes Region, Indiana on Monday.
“My job will consist of the outreach, being the face of NASS here in Indiana, still answering all the phone calls I may get from farmers and industries. That has not changed,” he said. “Basically for the average user of ag statistics they will not notice a change in the processes. They only thing that is actually changing is that once we get everyone moved into place the majority of our staff will be up in Michigan and not here in Indiana.”
NASS has established 12 national regions and Indiana joins Ohio and Michigan in the Great Lakes Region with the main office in Lansing. The region director is Jay Johnson who also serves as Michigan state statistician. Staying in the West Lafayette office with Matli will be the person in charge of the field enumerators since data collection will not change and will rely on those in the field. Through attrition he says the 12 regions will be staffed by about 350 employees marking a drop of about 100.
Matli looks for better accuracy with this change.
“The accuracy of the data should improve with us going from 46 individual field offices down to 12 regions. Just in that move alone you’re going from 46 different field offices maybe having a different opinion how to do things down to 12 regional centers.”
“They’re starting with the management level first and we’re trying to get the ag census done in this same time frame so a lot of the actual moves of the staff that does a lot of the day to day grinding of the data will not be moved until the end of 2013, beginning of the 2014 budget.”
Matli told HAT Indiana ag census returns are ahead of 2007 but there are still many unreturned forms. He urges farmers to finish and return their ag census in an effort to become the number one state for participation, up from #2 five years ago.
Matli has been in Indiana with NASS since 1999 and served as interim director after director Greg Preston left for Washington DC. Hear more of his comments in the HAT interview:Greg Matli details NASS changes