A sample of soybean and vegetable growers across Michigan soon will be contacted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Great Lakes Region, to participate in a set of surveys focusing on nutrient and fertilizer use, pesticide applications, and pest management practices.
Conducted annually in the fall, Phase II of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey is USDA’s primary source of information on production practices for select field crops. This year, ARMS focuses on soybean production practices.
Additionally, NASS will be administering the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey, a study conducted every two years focusing on farm operators’ use of chemicals on selected vegetable crops. NASS will conduct interviews with about 200 soybean producers and 700 vegetable growers in Michigan.
They will be asked to provide information on their fertilizer, nutrient and pesticide applications, as well as their pest management and spray practices for soybeans, asparagus, snap beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
“Participation in these surveys is vital to all agricultural industry stakeholders,” says Marlo Johnson, director of the 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. While these surveys can be lengthy and complex, trained and experienced enumerators can work with respondents to make the process go smoothly and relatively quickly.”
As an added incentive for respondents to complete these surveys, Johnson notes the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has agreed to provide two pesticide applicator certification credits to those growers who complete either the ARMS Phase II or the VCUS.
The importance of these surveys cannot be understated, Johnson says.
“All sectors of the agriculture industry — producers, buyers, suppliers, policymakers and others — rely on vegetable chemical use data to make sound business decisions,” she says. “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.”
Johnson assures survey participants the confidentiality of their responses is protected by law.
“NASS strictly safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregated state and national data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified,” she says.
For more information about ARMS, VCUS and other surveys conducted by NASS, contact the Great Lakes Regional Office at 1-800-453-7501 or visit the NASS website at nass.usda.gov.