USDA to Measure Financial Health of the Ag Industry

USDA to Measure Financial Health of the Ag Industry

Iowa farmers who will be contacted beginning in January are urged to participate in special USDA survey.

Starting in January, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct its annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey. This survey is the primary source of information on production practices, resource use and the economic well-being of America's farm operations. This annual survey gives farmers and ranchers an opportunity to provide accurate, real-world data that will help shape the policies, programs and issues that affect them.

About 1,900 farm operators in Iowa will be contacted

"ARMS asks a small, but representative, sample of farmers about their operation in order to understand the current financial state of U.S. agriculture," says Greg Thessen, director of the USDA-NASS Iowa field office in Des Moines. "Participation in ARMS is so important because just about every federal policy and program that affects U.S. farmers, their families and their communities is based on information from ARMS."

 The survey will be conducted between January 1 and March 31. In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, NASS will reach out to about 35,000 producers nationwide, including nearly 1,900 in Iowa. In addition to the general financial data requested of some farm operators, this survey also targets selected commodities on a rotating basis to collect cost of production data.

This year, NASS will collect this production practice and cost information from selected crop growers and hog producers.

Your identity as a survey respondent is kept confidential

"ARMS gives farmers a chance to set the record straight about issues that affect them," says Thessen. "Farm and producer organizations, members of Congress, the USDA, other government agencies, and state and local officials use the collective results to answer questions and make important decisions concerning the economic viability of American agriculture, the rural economy and other emerging issues that will impact farmers."

He adds, "The ARMS survey is one way USDA and producers work together to provide meaningful, accurate and objective statistical information to keep U.S. agriculture and rural communities among the most robust in the world. 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 on August 3, 2010. All NASS reports are available online at

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