Roughly 900 wheat, potato, and vegetable growers across Michigan will soon be contacted by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) to participate in a set of surveys focusing on nutrient and fertilizer use, pesticide applications and pest management practices.
NASS will conduct interviews with approximately 200 soybean and potato producers and 700 vegetable growers in Michigan.
Conducted annually in the fall, Phase II of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS II) is USDA’s primary source of information on production practices for select field crops. This year ARMS focuses on wheat and potato production practices.
NASS will be also administering the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey (VCUS), a study conducted every two years focusing on farm operators’ use of chemicals on selected vegetable crops. They’ll be asked to provide information on their fertilizer, nutrient and pesticide applications, as well as their pest management and spray practices for wheat, potato, asparagus, snap beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash.
“Participation in these surveys is vital to all agricultural industry stakeholders,” said Marlo Johnson, director of the NASS Great Lakes Regional Field Office.
“Responses from vegetable growers to the VCUS will help ensure that nutrients and chemicals critical to vegetable production remain available on the market, while the results of the ARMS will help agricultural leaders and decision-makers better understand how producers cope with risk, adapt to policy changes, and make decisions about chemical use, new technologies, and other aspects of farming.”
According to Johnson, while these surveys can be lengthy and complex, experienced NASS staff can work with growers to make the process go smoothly and relatively quickly.
As an added incentive for respondents to complete these surveys, MDARD has agreed to provide two pesticide applicator certification credits to those growers who complete either the ARMS Phase II or the VCUS.
Information provided by survey participants is confidential and protected by law, while individual producers’ data are aggregated to ensure that no individual can be identified.
“All sectors of the agriculture industry – producers, buyers, suppliers, policy makers, and others – rely on vegetable chemical use data to make sound business decisions,” Johnson added.
“Meanwhile, virtually every federal farm program and policy is based on ARMS data – conservation programs, price support programs, risk management programs, pesticide approval and exemption programs, research programs – you name it. All of them rely on information generated through this survey. That’s why it’s so important that farmers take the time to participate and ensure that we have the most accurate and up-to-date information, straight from the source.”
For more information about ARMS, VCUS, and other surveys conducted by NASS, contact the Great Lakes Regional Office at (800) 453-7501 or click here.
– Michigan Farm Bureau