USDA to measure the financial health of American farms

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Starting in January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact farmers and ranchers across the nation to conduct the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). This survey will provide farmers and ranchers with an opportunity to provide accurate, real-world data that will help shape the policies, programs and issues that affect them.

“ARMS asks a small, but representative, sample of farmers about their operation in order to understand the current financial state of U.S. agriculture,” said Brad Schwab, director of the NASS Illinois Field Office. “Participation in ARMS is so important because government and agricultural leaders use the information needed to make sound decisions that impact the future of farmers, their families, their businesses and their communities.”

Field follow-up will begin in early February and will focus on dairy and corn producers. In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, NASS will reach out to nearly 35,000 producers nationwide, including 1,745 in Illinois. Producers will be asked to provide data on their operating expenditures, production costs and household characteristics.

“Farm organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other government agencies, members of Congress, and State and local officials use the collective information from ARMS to answer questions and make important decisions concerning the economic viability of American agriculture, the rural economy and other emerging issues,” explained Schwab.

\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 Aug. 2, 2011. All NASS reports are available online at