USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting about 350 Wisconsin dairy farms and nearly 3,300 dairy farms from 28 dairy producing states for the 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). ARMS is the only survey that gathers comprehensive data on the financial well-being of dairy farms. As you are well aware, dairy farmers received low prices for milk during 2016. This survey is an opportunity to set the record straight about how low milk prices and costs of production affected you, your business and your community. The data collected from the survey will provide USDA and policy makers along with others in the dairy industry accurate information to make decisions that will benefit milk producers.
Below are some commonly asked questions asked by farmers about the survey.
Who will be contacted for the survey?
Approximately 350 dairy farms will be contacted in Wisconsin. Producers are randomly chosen so that all sizes are types of dairy farms are represented.
When will farmers be contacted for the survey?
Dairy farmers will be contacted by a trained interviewer in February or March. The interviewer will schedule a time that is convenient with the producer to do the interview.
Why should a farmer participate in the survey?
- ARMS will let policy makers know the true cost of milk production and income dairy farmers receive so that better policy and legislation can be developed to help producers. For example, the 2016 ARMS will help evaluate the design of the Dairy Margin Protection Program and its effects on milk production and farm finances.
- ARMS will provide information for people in the dairy industry to make recommendations to dairy farmers about whether to invest in computerized milking systems, types of housing designs to use, types of cows that should be in the herd, and types of dairy farmers that are profitable. The survey will also answer questions about organic milk production.
- ARMS will provide information to the industry that can be used to enhance exports of dairy products.
Will my data collected be kept confidential?
Yes – All data collected by the NASS is protected by strict confidentiality laws. The data is used only in combination with other responses to set state and U.S. estimates.
Where can I find information published about previous ARMS results or if I have other questions?
For a more detailed explanation of ARMS or previously published data, visit the USDA's website at http://ers.usda.gov/data-products/arms-farm-financial-and-crop-production-practices.aspx
or call the NASS Wisconsin Field Office at 1-800-789-9277.