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Proving that agriculture does indeed count, Director of the Statistics Division at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Joe Prusacki, was selected as ProFarmer’s 2010 Ag Person of the Year.
This award is a great honor for Prusacki and is shared by all of USDA as it exemplifies the department’s continued commitment to actively listen and be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. Previous notable recipients include Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns , a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
In announcing Prusacki as the award recipient, editors noted that he had “what was probably the toughest job in all of agriculture in 2010” due to 2009-2010 crop reporting challenges and the resulting scrutiny of NASS’s crop estimate reports.
Prusacki’s unwavering leadership and confidence in NASS’s programs and procedures helped the agency persevere during the unusual 2009 and 2010 growing seasons. During that time, growers faced unprecedented growing conditions, causing market volatility. This provided challenges for NASS and its crop estimates program, resulting in the agency resurveying several corn and small grains-growing states.
With Prusacki at the helm of NASS’s Statistics Division, the agency overcame extraordinary challenges and maintained trust within the agricultural community through open communication and dialogue. Prusacki’s integrity and professionalism throughout this time earned him great respect from some of USDA’s toughest critics.
Pro-Farmer went on to say, “Let’s face it… NASS can be an ‘easy target’ because the data it collects is closely followed, open to many opinions (pre-report trade expectations) and it moves the markets. And this year, its data moved the markets violently with regularity! Despite all these ‘spotlight moments,’ Prusacki’s message never wavered. … Prusacki handled the challenges and conflicts with professionalism.”
In addition to managing NASS’s Statistics Division, Prusacki also serves as Executive Director of the Agricultural Statistics Board and is responsible for leading USDA’s crops and livestock statistics estimating program. He is a leading expert and spokesperson on USDA’s official estimates of all major crop and livestock commodities in the United States.