Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013. There were 2.74 million colonies producing honey in 2014, up 4 percent from 2013. Yield per colony averaged 65.1 pounds, up 15 percent from the 56.6 pounds in 2013. Colonies which produced honey in more than one State were counted in each State where the honey was produced. Therefore, at the United States level yield per colony may be understated, but total production would not be impacted. Colonies were not included if honey was not harvested. Producer honey stocks were 41.2 million pounds on December 15, 2014, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Stocks held by producers exclude those held under the commodity loan program.
Record High Honey Prices
Honey prices increased to a record high during 2014 to 216.1 cents per pound, up 1 percent from 214.1 cents per pound in 2013.
United States and State level prices reflect the portions of honey sold through cooperatives, private, and retail channels. Prices for each color class are derived by weighting the quantities sold for each marketing channel. Prices for the 2013 crop reflect honey sold in 2013 and 2014. Some 2013 crop honey was sold in 2014, which caused some revisions to the 2013 crop prices.
Survey Procedures: Data for honey producing operations are collected from a stratified sample of all known producers with five or more colonies. NASS Regional Field Offices maintain a list of all known honey producers and use known sources of producers to update their lists.
All sampled honey producers with five or more colonies are mailed a questionnaire and given adequate time to respond by mail or electronic data reporting (EDR). Those that do not respond by mail or EDR are telephoned or possibly enumerated in person. Prices are collected by color class and marketing channel.
Estimation Procedures: Sound statistical methodology is employed to derive the estimates from reported data. All data are analyzed for unusual values. Data from each operation are compared to their own past operating profile and to trends from similar operations. Data for missing operations were estimated based on similar operations or historical data. State offices prepare these estimates by using a combination of survey indications and historic trends.
Prices for each color class are derived by weighting the quantities sold for each marketing channel. Individual State estimates are reviewed by the Agricultural Statistics Board for reasonableness.
Revision Policy: The previous year’s estimates are subject to revision when current year’s estimates are made. Revisions are the result of late reports or corrected data. Price revisions can be the result of additional sales reported the following year. Estimates will also be reviewed after data from the 5-year Census of Agriculture are available. No revisions will be made after that date.
Reliability: Since all honey producing operations are not included in the sample, survey estimates are subject to sampling variability. Survey results are also subject to non-sampling errors such as omissions, duplication, and mistakes in reporting, recording, and processing the data. While these errors cannot be measured directly, they are minimized through strict quality controls in the data collection process and a careful review of all reported data for consistency and reasonableness.
To assist in evaluating the reliability of the estimates in this report, the “Root Mean Square Error” is shown for selected items in the following table.
The “Root Mean Square Error” is a statistical measure based on past performance and is computed using the differences between first and final estimates. The “Root Mean Square Error” for honey producing colonies over the past 10 years is 1.3 percent. This means that chances are 2 out of 3 that the final estimate will not be above or below the current estimate of 2.74 million colonies by more than 1.3 percent. Chances are 9 out of 10 that the difference will not exceed 2.4 percent.