On April 17 this year, Mary Marple of Buckhannon was awarded a NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture) Enumerator of the Year Award for her work at the USDA/NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) West Virginia Field Office. Marple is a field supervisor with her work of interviewing farmers for agricultural surveys. She supervises a staff of three that covers 20 counties. The WV office conducts several surveys throughout the year, collecting data on livestock and crops. Estimates are set that are used for several state and federal programs. Marple was nominated by the WV NASDA Coordinator Amy Thomas. Only 12 enumerators were selected nationwide, and of those only three supervisory enumerators were selected, including Marple. Marple has been an enumerator for more than 50 years, and a supervisor for more than 46.
Last year in May, Marple was recognized for her 50 years of service to NASS and NASDA with a plaque. Thomas nominated Marple because of her hard work, dedication, and work ethic. Thomas says, “Mary Marple’s unrelenting work ethic has been instilled in her enumerators. Mary’s enumerators completed the 2018 June Area Survey with 96.2% usables. Her group lead West Virginia to earn highest in the nation at 94.8% usables for the 2018 June Area Survey. Mary’s knowledge of farm practices and her admiration for the individuals who have devoted their efforts to agriculture have earned Mary respect from the West Virginia farming community. Excellent rapport defines the relationship that Mary has developed with respondents. Mary has developed life-long friendships with many of our respondents.”
Data collection is a big part of the survey process and Marple is often called on to contact hard to reach or reluctant farmers. Even though the survey data are kept confidential though federal law, the information is personal, so data collection is not easy. Marple also won the award in 2007, so she continues her excellent work and is a true asset to West Virginia.