USDA to Collect Farm Usage Data

October 5, 2012 07:07 AM

United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced today that it is collecting chemical usage data from soybean and wheat growers in 26 states. The information is gathered as part of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), which NASS conducts jointly with the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS).

"The use of fertilizers and pesticides for crop production in the United States is one of the most studied topics in agriculture today," said NASS's Program Administration Branch Chief Chris Messer. "We conduct this survey to ensure that any and all decisions about agricultural chemical use are based on current, unbiased data that come from growers themselves."

Unlike most of the agency's other surveys, NASS will handle this part of the ARMS only through face-to-face interviews. Over the next three months, hundreds of NASS interviewers will visit selected growers to gather information about chemical use on their crops. The interviewers will ask the producers to report the nutrient or fertilizer use, biocontrol or pesticide applications, and pest management and irrigation practices on one randomly selected field to represent data from their farm.

"I hope all growers understand that responding to this survey gives them a chance to impact product availability for their entire industry," added Messer. "We will publish the results of this survey on May 15, 2013, and many industry stakeholders anticipate these data and will use them as soon as they are available."

The growers can safely respond to the survey with certainty that their responses will remain fully confidential. NASS guarantees that data are used only for statistical purposes and publishes only aggregate information on state and national levels.

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