NASS to include bioenergy, horticulture in 2009 surveys
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is rolling out its survey gear again in preparation for this year's round of national surveys, including a new section of questions on bioenergy and a new irrigation survey for horticulture and nurs...
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is rolling out its survey gear again in preparation for this year's round of national surveys, including a new section of questions on bioenergy and a new irrigation survey for horticulture and nursery operators.
The surveying process is set to begin Feb. 17, and each is expected to take producers about two hours to complete.
The annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey now will include a section focusing on the bioenergy industries, including ethanol. The new section is expected to take producers 95 minutes to complete and will provide legislators, farm groups and NASS information about an emerging but dominant force in agriculture.
"Bioenergy is such a big issue right now," says Darin Jantzi, director of NASS's North Dakota field in Fargo, N.D. "I get questions on that all the time, and I just don't have the answers because we really don't have the data to back it up. This questionnaire and survey will provide that."
The survey will include questions, for example, concerning the amount of corn and soybeans that are being marketed specifically for biofuels and how much of the corn crop is going from the fields directly to ethanol facilities.
The subject matter of the annual portion of the ARMS will focus on beef cow-calf operations, he says.
"A lot of the same questions are asked from year to year in the core version, just so we can get some consistency to see what kind of trends are happening," he says.
Also on deck is the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, being conducted as a supplement to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. NASS expects producers to be able to complete the survey in 45 minutes.
"This survey provides (producers) with a voice to help share the future of our industry and demonstrate their commitment to the efficient use of water resources," Jantzi says.
The survey will ask respondents to provide information about irrigation water use in 2008, including application methods, equipment, facilities, expenditures, crop acreage and yield. The results are used by government, industry and producers.
In addition to the standard irrigation survey, NASS will send specialized surveys to horticulture and nursery operators.
"They will get a questionnaire that's specific to that industry," he says. "They are for private industry only" and do not include nurseries on college campuses or at research stations."
This specialized survey is expected to take 20 minutes to complete.