Skip to main content
Stay Connected

Census Publications

Find Current Data By

Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

Full Report:


Report Form and Instructions:

2015 Sample report form

Instruction Sheet

Additional Materials:

News Release (Apr. 4, 2016) | News Release (Dec. 20, 2016) | Highlights

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • 1. What is the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey?

    The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is the first-ever survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to produce benchmark data about local food marketing practices. This 2012 Census of Agriculture special study provides data on the marketing of locally and regionally produced agricultural food products, as directed under the 2014 Farm Bill.

  • 2. How was the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey conducted?

    NASS mailed survey forms in early April 2016 to approximately 44,000 producers nationwide. Responses were due by May 2, 2016. Producers were also contacted by phone or in person from June 2016 through August 2016. All farms and potential farms on NASS’s List Frame were eligible for sampling as well as potential local food operations derived from publically available web-based information.

  • 3. What types of questions were asked?

    The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey asked about the marketing of food directly from farm producers directly to consumers, retailers, institutions, and a variety of local food intermediaries such as distributors and wholesalers that market and sell locally branded products. Information was asked on local food marketing practices during 2015, including items such as:

    1. Value of food sales by marketing practice (i.e. farmers markets, CSAs, restaurants, roadside stands, food hubs, and more)
    2. Commodity and value-added sales by marketing channel
    3. Federal farm program participation
  • 4. Where can I find Local Food Marketing Practices Survey data?

    Several options are available for accessing the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices survey data. Data is available via a searchable database called Quick Stats. Additional formats of summary results are available. Visit to access the information online. Follow NASS on Twitter @usda_nass.

    For additional information on the Local Food Marketing Practices survey, call the Agricultural Statistics Hotline at 800-727-9540 or email

  • 5. Will NASS conduct additional surveys or studies on local food marketing practices in the future?
  • Pending Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval, we will collect data as a special study following the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

  • 6. How do I get counted for a future local food marketing practice survey?

    A farm is defined as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the census year. You can register online if your farm meets this benchmark.

  • 7. What if I want more information or need help accessing the results?

    Call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at 800-727-9540, email, or visit

  • 8. What is methodology?

    In statistics, methodology is the survey processes by which data are collected, analyzed and summarized.

  • 9. What methodology did you use to conduct the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey?

    Enhancements to methodology are always made to improve the reliability of data and ensure we are providing the type of information data users need. Producers selected to participate in the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey were identified through NASS's List Frame and an independent list derived from publically available web sources. Data were collected via mail, telephone, internet, or face-to-face interviews. NASS reviewed the reported data to determine the validity and representative quality of completed questionnaires and then summarized the data to produce final estimates, adjusting for, non-response, misclassification, and coverage. Definitions of terms and phrases used are thoroughly documented in the survey's methodology.

  • 10. Can I compare 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey data with the data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture?

    The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey results reflect the industry as of the time the list was built and the 2015 production year. Comparisons with the 2012 Census of Agriculture, other NASS publications, and other non-NASS sources must allow for differences in reference periods, definitions and weighting methodologies.

  • 11. What is coefficient of variation and what does it mean for this Local Food Marketing Practices survey?

    Coefficient of variation (CV) provides a measure of uncertainty of an estimate. The lower the coefficient of variation, the higher the reliability of the estimate. For the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, it means that data users can assess the comparable reliability of the estimates. By publishing the CV, NASS is increasing transparency and data usability.

  • 12. Are special tabulations available for data not published in the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey report?

    Request a special tabulation on the NASS website.

  • 13. Who can I contact if I think there might be a problem with the data?

    If you have a concern about state-level data, please contact the appropriate USDA NASS regional office . If your concern is about national-level data, please contact or 800-727-9540. We can direct you to the appropriate subject matter expert.


Last Modified: 06/23/2017