Farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to set the record straight about the issues that affect them and to help ensure that policies and programs are based on accurate, real-world data.
Those are the goals of the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey, conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. ARMS is USDA's primary source of information on production practices, economic well being, and resource use of America's farm and ranch households.
"Just about every federal policy and program that affects U.S. farmers and ranchers and their families is based on information from ARMS," says Mark Harris, director of the NASS Nebraska Field Office. "This information is used not just by USDA and Congress, but also by farm and ranch organizations, producer groups, agribusinesses and others who make the decisions that shape the future of Nebraska agriculture."
Between January and April 2007 NASS field offices will contact 36,000 operations nationwide by mail or in person to complete the survey. Producers will be asked to provide data on their operating expenditures, production costs, and household characteristics.
"All operators rely on sound government and private policies in order to run a successful business," Harris says. "This requires quality information to formulate these critical agricultural policies. That's why participation in ARMS ensures that decisions affecting their business, their families, and their communities are based on the facts, straight from the source."
Survey responses will be compiled and NASS will publish the farm and ranch economic data in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report, to be released on Aug. 2. In addition, USDA's Economic Research Service issues multiple reports and analysis based on the ARMS data.
As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses and publishes only state and national level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.