Sep 11, 2018
Michigan growers to be surveyed about chemical practices

A sample of vegetable growers across Michigan will soon be contacted by the USDA NASS Great Lakes Region to participate in a set of surveys focusing on nutrient and fertilizer use, pesticide applications, and pest management practices.

NASS will be administering the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey (VCUS), a study conducted every two years focusing on farm operators’ use of chemicals on selected vegetable crops. The VCUS survey will be conducted in addition to the annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), which focusses on field crops such as corn and soybeans.

NASS will conduct personal interviews with approximately 12,300 farm operators nationwide, including over 700 in Michigan. They will be asked to provide information on their fertilizer, nutrient and pesticide applications, as well as their pest management practices for corn, soybeans, and vegetable crops.

“Participation in these surveys is vital to all agricultural industry stakeholders,” said Marlo Johnson, Director of the Great Lakes Regional Field Office. “Responses from vegetable growers to the VCUS will help ensure that nutrients and chemicals critical to vegetable production remain available on the market, while the results of the ARMS will help agricultural leaders and decision-makers better understand how producers cope with risk, adapt to policy changes, and make decisions about chemical use, new technologies, and other aspects of farming. While these surveys can be lengthy and complex, trained and experienced enumerators can work with respondents to make the process go smoothly and relatively quickly.”

As an added incentive for respondents to complete these surveys, Johnson noted the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has agreed to provide two pesticide applicator certification credits to those growers who complete either the ARMS or the VCUS.

The importance of these surveys cannot be understated, according to Johnson. “All sectors of the agriculture industry – producers, buyers, suppliers, policymakers, and others – rely on vegetable chemical use data to make sound business decisions,” she said.

Johnson assures survey participants that the confidentiality of their responses is protected by law.

“NASS strictly safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregated state and national data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified,” she said.

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