Kentucky Ag News


USDA to measure financial well-being of Kentucky farmers


National Agricultural Statistics Service


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit more than 600 farms, including corn and dairy farms, in Kentucky, as the agency begins collecting data for the final phase of the 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).


ARMS is a joint effort between NASS and USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). The survey is an annual program that gathers in-depth information on production practices, costs, and financial well-being of American farm families. ARMS targets select commodities on a rotational basis. This year, the survey places additional focus on corn, and the conventional and organic dairy sectors. The last time ARMS focused on the dairy sector was in 2010 and focused only on the conventional dairy sector. This will be the first time ARMS will include additional focus on the organic dairy production.

“As producers begin to consider the 2018 Farm Bill, this information will be critical to educate policy makers,” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “Farm operators have a great opportunity to provide a picture of the farm economy and the issues that impact farming. Equally important is understanding the health of farm households and how that may impact rural communities.”

By surveying corn growers, the 2016 ARMS will provide a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. corn sector. Data from the 2016 ARMS will be used to assess crop insurance choices made by corn growers, which in turn will help policymakers better understand the impact of crop insurance offerings on farm production decisions and financial outcomes.

The results of the 2016 ARMS will also help USDA and other policymakers analyze the impacts of the new Dairy Margin Protection Program, introduced in the Agricultural Act of 2014. With operational costs driving structural changes within the dairy industry, this new program aims to help dairy producers when milk prices drop and feed prices remain high. USDA launched the program in 2015, making the current survey crucial to measuring its initial effects.

All farmers selected to participate in the 2016 ARMS were notified . Trained enumerators will begin making appointments and visit the participating farms to gather the information through personal interviews. These visits will continue through early April.

Once all the data are in, NASS and ERS will review and analyze the information. NASS plans on publishing summarized data in the Farm Production Expenditures report on Aug. 3. ERS plans on putting out a report focusing on the ARMS corn and dairy data at a later date.

For more information about Kentucky surveys and reports, call the NASS Kentucky Field Office at (800) 928-5277, or visit