USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey - or ARMS. NASS Deputy Administrator Carol House says the survey is an important one, as it measures just how healthy the U.S. agricultural industry is, providing a vital tool that helps measure the economic well-being of farms and ranches.
"We go out and ask questions about the financial well-being of farm households," House said. "So we're talking about the farm characteristics, we're talking about the economic well-being of farmers and that in turn will help direct policy and decision making that will affect farm families."
Among other things, House says ARMS provides real, not speculative, data on the price of producing various crops and livestock commodities. It also highlights the burdens of input costs such as fuel or feed, production practices, and much more.
According to House USDA tries to cover all major commodities with this survey on a rotating basis. Because producers of hogs and wheat have been hit particularly hard this year's ARMS will include a special questionnaire for those farmers.
"We're going to send an interviewer around to collect the information in person," House said. "So those producers will be get a letter, letting them know that interviewer will be calling to set up an appointment. We ask that producers grant some of their valuable time to help pull this information together for the farm sector and their production sector."
Other producers will receive questionnaires in the mail with responses due on Mar. 30. House says all data will remain confidential and stresses that producers have the opportunity to provide accurate, real-world data that will help shape the very policies and programs that affect their farm, family and community. If you have received the Agricultural Resource Management Survey and have questions visit www.nass.usda.gov or call 800-727-9540.