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Apr 27 -- The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) invites comments to OMB by May 31, 2023 regarding the Agricultural Resource Management Phases 3 Economic Survey. [Comments are due 30 days after submission to OMB on May 1.]

The primary functions of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) are to prepare and issue State and national estimates of crop and livestock production, disposition, and prices and to collect information on related environmental and economic factors. Detailed economic and environmental data for various crops and livestock help to maintain a stable economic atmosphere and reduce the risk for production, marketing, and distribution operations. The Agricultural Resource Management Surveys (ARMS), are the primary source of information for the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a broad range of issues related to agricultural resource use, cost of production, and farm sector financial conditions. NASS uses a variety of survey instruments to collect the information in conjunction with these studies. General authority for these data collection activities is granted under U.S. Code title 7, section 2204.

This information collection request will focus on the Agricultural Resource Management Phase 3 Surveys. The previous two phases of ARMS will be submitted as a separate information collection request. The requests are being separated to better accommodate changes requested by data users and policy makers.

ARMS is the only annual source of whole farm information available for objective evaluation of many critical issues related to agriculture and the rural economy, such as: Production practices for certain livestock commodities; as well as whole farm finance data, marketing information, and input usage. Without these data, decision makers cannot analyze and report on critical issues that affect farms and farm households. Number of Respondents: 43,817
 
This docket is being submitted to renew the authority to conduct the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) Phase 3 Survey program for a three-year period. The types of surveys associated with this request include:  The Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) cost & returns report (CRR), the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) production practices and costs report (PPCR) for livestock operations, and a supplemental contractor expense survey.

The ARMS survey is conducted in three phases. ARMS Phase 1 (included in OMB Control Number 0535-0218) is used as a screening phase for the follow-on surveys. This has proved to be very cost-effective way to draw accurate samples for the other surveys included in this docket. It also helps to reduce respondent burden.

The ARMS Phase 2 (included in OMB Control Number 0535-0218) is normally conducted every year for selected crops. It consists of two versions; the Production Practices and Costs Report (PPCR), and the Production Practices Report (PPR). The PPR component is conducted with NASS-only funding to gather field crop chemical use data. The PPCR is co-funded by a cooperative agreement with the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). The PPCR component efficiently collects costs associated with the various production practices to complete the cost of production estimates for ARMS targeted crop commodities. The ARMS Phase 2-PPCR efficiently collects detailed cropping practice and cost data by focusing on field-level and expanding to whole farm, thus greatly reducing respondent burden while maintaining accuracy of reported data. NASS will continue to reuse these data, enabling NASS to produce some chemical use estimates at appropriate geographic level(s) based on extent of coverage.  

ARMS Phase 3 (the subject of this request) is the economic phase, in which NASS collects data related to the costs and returns for both the whole farm and for targeted commodities raised on each farm. The Phase 3 is also co-funded by ERS and NASS. The target commodities are on a rotational basis. This rotation allows NASS and ERS to provide detailed data on all the major commodities while minimizing respondent burden. The data from these three phases are combined to give a complete representation of whole farm data.  

The contractor expense survey (included with this request) is a supplemental ARMS Phase 3 survey used to impute costs that a farmer may incur but not be able to report with any detail.  
 
The Contractor Expense Surveys are supplemental surveys to the ARMS Phase 3 survey. The purpose is to obtain the contractor’s portion of the operating expenses for the whole farm. In previous surveys we have found that most contractees cannot report total expenses incurred by the contractor, since the contractor supplies many of the inputs to the farm operator.

Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) https://www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys/Ag_Resource_Management/
NASS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202303-0535-003 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-08925

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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