USDA to gauge financial well-being of farmers and ranchers

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

SIOUX FALLS – In late December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) began gathering information about farm economics and production practices from farmers and ranchers across South Dakota, as the agency conducts the third and final phase of the 2017 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

“ARMS is the only survey program that allows anyone to clearly see the current financial well-being of South Dakota producers and their households as a whole,” said Erik Gerlach, South Dakota State Statistician. “The results of this survey will serve as a primary source of information for numerous local and federal policies and programs that affect South Dakota farms and farm families,”

NASS conducts ARMS jointly with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). In an effort to obtain the most accurate data, the federal agencies will reach out to more than 35,000 producers nationwide, including 618 in South Dakota, between late December and April. The survey asks producers to provide in-depth data on their operating expenditures, production practices and household characteristics.

“We realize that this survey is lengthy and some producers may have questions or need clarification,” explained Gerlach. “In February, our interviewers will begin reaching out to those farmers who have not yet responded to answer any questions they may have and help them fill out their questionnaires.”

In addition to accurate data, NASS is strongly committed to confidentiality. The agency will only publish data in an aggregate form. This helps safeguard the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

The economic data gathered in ARMS will be published in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on August 2, 2018. All NASS reports are available online at ERS also plans to release a series of reports based on ARMS data. All of these reports will be available on the agency’s site at

For more information about the 2017 Agricultural Resource Management Survey visit