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NASS gathering information on financial well-being of Tennessee agriculture

NASHVILLE, TN. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is collecting data from 297 Tennessee farmers and more than 35,000 farmers across the country for its annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). 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 usage, 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 (GDP). 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 (ARMS) and Census of Agriculture (CoA),” 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 (GDP). 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,” Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. “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.”

NASS will publish the survey findings in the annual Production Expenditures report Aug. 2, 2018.

Published April 2, 2018

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