Thirty-four thousand U.S. producers are being asked to take part in the USDA's 2012 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) which will, for the first time, give a comprehensive look at the economic effects of last year's drought on farms and ranches.
Mitch Morehart is the ag economist who manages the survey and he tells Brownfield Ag News, "There's been a lot of anecdotal evidence about some of the impacts and adjustments producers made but there's been no actual measurement and that's really the significance of this survey effort."
Morehart says soybean growers will be asked for additional information about their crop practices in this survey. "The last time we collected detailed information about soybean production was in 2006."
The ARMS survey coincides with the Census of Agriculture and Morehart says they do not have to fill out both, "When we've contacted them to do the ARMS survey we inform them that that fulfills their obligation to do the census so they don't have to be bothered again."
Morehart says they typically get 70 percent participation in the surveys, which is a good sample. "We really appreciate and don't take for granted the importance of the actual producers giving us information."
Trained interviewers are visiting farms to gather the information on operating costs and farm-related income. He says the survey results will come out in mid-April.
The ARMS survey results are used for agriculture policy-making and other ag-related decisions.