CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

January 21, 2013

USDA to take economic pulse of U.S. agriculture


U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

MONTGOMERY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will spend the next several months gathering production practices information from farmers and ranchers across the nation through the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). The results of this survey will serve as a baseline for numerous federal policies and programs that affect U.S. farms and farm families.

"It is hard to overestimate the impact the responses to ARMS can have since this survey is the primary tool for federal, state and local government representatives and all major farm sector stakeholders to gauge the financial condition of American farms and ranches," said Bill Weaver, director of the NASS Alabama Field Office. "By responding, Alabama farmers can ensure that they are accurately represented when it comes to decision-making."

NASS conducts ARMS jointly with USDA's Economic Research Service. In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, the federal agencies will reach out to nearly 33,000 producers nationwide, including approximately 250 in Alabama, between mid-January and the end of March. The survey asks producers to provide data on their operating expenditures, production costs and household characteristics.

"As you may know, NASS is currently also conducting the mandatory Census of Agriculture, which occurs every five years," explained Weaver. "To make it easier on these farmers, responding to ARMS fulfills the growers' 2012 Census of Agriculture obligations."

As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

The economic data gathered in ARMS will be published in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report Aug. 2, 2013. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.