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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will begin surveying farm operators to update information on production practices, resource use, and economic well-being of U.S. farms and farm households. Selected operators should have received forms for the survey, called Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), at the end of December.

'ARMS is our primary tool for gauging the financial condition and production practices on U.S. farms and ranches, 'said Greg Bussler, Wisconsin State Statistician. 'It gives farmers a voice in policy making by providing an opportunity to set the record straight about important issues that directly impact the agricultural community. It ensures policies and programs are based on accurate, real-world data that comes directly from the producers.'

NASS conducts ARMS jointly with USDA's Economic Research Service. In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, these agencies will reach out to nearly 41,000 producers nationwide, including 1,700 in Wisconsin, between January and March.

'This survey is lengthy and we realize some producers may have questions or need clarification,' explained Bussler. 'In February, our interviewers will begin contacting farmers, who have not yet responded, to answer any questions they may have and help them complete their report.'

'Decision makers from all facets of U.S. Agriculture will 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 Bussler.

He added, 'That's why it is imperative for all farmers contacted by NASS to provide responses and help shape the future of U.S. agriculture. By participating in this survey, Wisconsin farmers directly impact the decisions that affect them, their families, and their operations.'

In addition to accurate data, NASS is strongly committed to confidentiality. Information provided by respondents is confidential by law. The agency safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

NASS will publish the economic data gathered in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on Aug. 4. All NASS reports on available online at www.nass.usda.gov.

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