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USDA Announces Plans for Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (National Survey of Business Competitiveness); Seeks Comments by April 8
Feb 6, 2013

The Department of Agriculture has proposed a new information collection -

Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (National Survey of Business Competitiveness)

This survey of business establishments will be conducted over a 6-month period with up to 30,000 respondents to collect information on rural tradable business sectors such as manufacturing and professional services. The information is necessary to understand:

  1. The adoption of innovative practices and their contribution to firm productivity;
  2. the availability and use of local and regional assets (such as workforce education, local financial institutions, strong local business and other economic associations, and transportation infrastructure) and the association of these assets with successful adjustment; and
  3. the extent and importance of participation in Federal, State and local programs designed to promote rural business vitality and growth.

As the first collection of information devoted specifically to innovation in rural business establishments, the proposed survey will complement other Federal efforts in gauging innovative activity in the private sector. Information on formal research and development (R&D) activities is collected by the National Science Foundation using the Business R&D and Innovation Survey. While some of this formal research and development activity takes place in nonmetropolitan counties, it is anticipated that the great majority of rural innovation occurs less through the creation of new patentable products than through the adoption of new practices and niche marketing. The emphasis of the proposed collection will be on understanding the process of innovation in business establishments as opposed to measuring R&D inputs.

Click here for full background, proposed timetables and methodologies, interview protocols, and desired focus of public comment.

Comments are due by April 8.