Farmers will soon have the opportunity to set the record straight about the issues that affect them, and in the process to help ensure that policies and programs are based on accurate, real-world data.
This is the goal of the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey, conducted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. ARMS is the agency's primary source of information on production practices, resource use and economic well-being of America's farm households.
"Just about every federal policy and program that affects U.S. farmers and families is based on information from ARMS," says Joe Parsons, director of the NASS Nebraska field office. "This information is used not just by USDA and Congress, but also by producers' commodity groups, agribusinesses, and others who make the decisions that shape the future of Nebraska agriculture."
Between Jan. 14 and April 23, 2008, NASS field offices will contact 33,500 farmers nationwide by mail or personal interview to complete the survey. Producers will be asked to provide data on their operating expenditures, production costs, and household characteristics.
"All farm operators rely on quality information and sound government policies in order to run a successful business. That's why participation in ARMS is so important," Parsons explains. "Producer participation in ARMS ensures that decisions affecting farmers, their families, their businesses, and their communities are based on the facts, straight from the source."
ARMS survey responses will be compiled and NASS will publish the farm economic data in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report, to be released on Aug. 7, 2008. Information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.
Find agricultural statistics for your county, state, and the nation at www.nass.usda.gov.