USDA  Production Practices

USDA Production Practices

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Over the winter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service plans to visit thousands of corn, potato and vegetable farmers across the United States to conduct the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey and the second phase of the 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey. Both of the surveys will focus on chemical use and production practices of these key crops.

"Production agriculture in the United States is constantly evolving and results of these surveys help ensure that the most current information about production practices is readily available," said NASS Census and Survey Division Director, Barbara Rater. "By responding, farmers ensure that decisions impacting their industry are based on facts."

Data for both surveys will be collected by personal interviews. All interviewers are employed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, which partners with NASS to conduct face-to-face and phone interviews. These representatives will begin visiting farms in September. Because of variation in geographic and crop harvesting periods, the surveys will run through January 2017. 

The Vegetable Chemical Use Survey is part of NASS' effort to maintain up-to-date statistics about commercial fertilizer and pesticide use as well as pest management practices. Since 1990, the agency has surveyed U.S. farmers for information on the chemical ingredients they apply to agricultural commodities through fertilizers and pesticides. The program currently alternates focus each year among vegetables, fruit and key field crops. I would contend that production agriculture, through the never ending incorporation of new technology into its toolshed, might be one of the fastest changing growth industries in the world.

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