NASS to Gather Information on Financial Well-being of Agriculture
National Agricultural Statistics Service
LOUISVILLE (February 5, 2018) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is collecting data from 335 Kentucky farmers, and more than 35,000 farmers across the country, for its annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). The survey looks at all aspects of U.S. agricultural production, including farm financial well-being, chemical usage, and various farm characteristics.
ARMS is a joint effort of NASS and USDA’s Economic Research Service. The information farmers 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 (GDP). The survey also collects detailed information on production practices, costs, and returns for 13 principal commodities on a rotating basis.
“We have two extensive surveys going on at the same time with the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and Census of Agriculture (CoA),” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “They’re two separate surveys, but with many of the same questions, so if a farm operation is included in the ARMS, it won’t also receive a Census. This makes responding to the ARMS even more important this year, as the data will feed several wide-ranging reports.”
How ARMS data is used
- USDA’s Economic Research Service uses ARMS data to accurately gauge the economic health of rural America.
- The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses ARMS data to calculate the farm sector portion of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Data directly from the 35,000 U.S. farmers chosen to respond to this survey is the only way to calculate the ag community’s contribution to our country’s economic health.
- When farmers respond to ARMS, they’re telling lawmakers and legislative representatives the costs incurred with farming in America. Lawmakers don’t otherwise know how the overall economy is affecting rural America, making it harder to consider their struggles and sacrifices in policies, laws, and budget appropriations.
- ARMS data is the ag financial component used in formulas through which money is allocated to states for Medicaid funding, ag research, and farm loan programs.
"In the years since the tobacco buyout, Kentucky has done particularly well in diversifying its agriculture industry,” Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said. “The ongoing Census of Agriculture and ARMS help provide better data and information to show where agriculture is heading and how agriculture can continue diversifying in the 21st century.”
“ARMS data are important to understanding what the farm economy looks like in a state,” Knopf said. “Coupling that with Census data showing trends in agriculture, it’s possible to find more ways to help farmers grow their operations and expand their moneymaking products.”
The results of this survey will be available in aggregate form only, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by federal law. NASS will publish the survey findings in the annual Production Expenditures report Aug. 2, 2018.
For more information about the 2017 Agricultural Resource Management Survey, visit www.nass.usda.gov/go/ARMS.