NASS gathers information on state agriculture

Staff Reports • May 22, 2018 at 8:45 PM

NASHVILLE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service plans to collect data from 297 Tennessee farmers and more than 35,000 farmers across the country for its annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey. 

The survey gathers information that measure the health of all aspects of U.S. agricultural production, including farm financial well being, farm income and expenditures, chemical use and various farm and ranch characteristics.

ARMS is a joint effort between 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. The survey also collects detailed information on production practices, costs, and returns for 13 principal commodities on a rotating basis.

“We have two extensive and vital surveys going on at the same time: The Agricultural Resource Management Survey and Census of Agriculture,” said Debra Kenerson, Tennessee state statistician. “The two are separate surveys, but with many of the same questions. Consequently, if a farming operation is included in the ARMS, it won’t also receive a Census of Agriculture questionnaire. This makes responding to the ARMS even more important this year, as the data will feed several wide-ranging reports.”

How ARMS data are 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. Data directly from the 35,000 U.S. farmers chosen to respond to this survey is the only way to calculate the agricultural community’s contribution to our country’s economic health.

• When farmers respond to ARMS, they’re telling local and national 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.

“ARMS and Census of Agriculture data are essential to understanding what our state’s farm economy looks like and provide direction in prioritizing what is most important to the agricultural industry in Tennessee, thus providing direction for appropriate legislation that would most positively impact our industry,” said Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton. “It helps identify agricultural challenges and potential solutions to solve them. These surveys provide data that assist us in bringing agricultural enterprises into the state that continue to strengthen and diversify our number one industry – agriculture.” 

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.  

All NASS Tennessee reports are available online at https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Tennessee.  For more information, call the NASS Tennessee Field Office at 615-891-0903 or 1-800-626-0987.

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