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USDA conducting annual resource survey of farmers, ranchers

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is collecting data from approximately 50,000 farmers and ranchers for its annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey.

The survey looks at all aspects of U.S. agricultural production, the well-being of farm households, farm finances, chemical usage and various farm production characteristics. ARMS also collects detailed information on production practices, costs and returns for different commodities on a rotating basis. In 2021, the survey will take a closer look at corn, rice, dairy and organic dairy.

At this time, NASS has suspended in-person data collection, but asks farmers and ranchers to complete surveys online at agcounts.usda.gov, with the survey code mailed to them.

“The annual data from ARMS are used to gauge the financial health and resource use of today’s producers,” said Mississippi State Statistician Esmerelda Dickson. “The information gives us an annual snapshot of the role of the farming industry in the U.S. economy.”

The information producers provide through the survey influences national and state policy-making decisions. In addition, ARMS data are used to calculate the farm sector portion of the Gross Domestic Product — an important measure of the U.S. economy.

ARMS is conducted from June 2021 through April 2022. The current, first phase screens participants to make sure they have the commodities of interest needed to accurately represent the entire U.S. farm sector. During phase two, NASS will collect information on production practices and chemical use for specific commodities, and in the final phase producers will be surveyed on farm income and production expenditures.

“We strongly encourage every producer contacted for ARMS to participate, as their response represents not just their own farm, but many other similar operations across the country,” Dickson said. “For maximum convenience, producers should complete the survey online. Producers can also complete and mail or fax the paper form to us.”

All information is kept confidential and reported so that no individual operation or producer can be identified. For more information about the 2021 survey, visit nass.usda.gov/go/ARMS or call 601-359-1259.