USDA to Ask Corn Growers about Fertilizer, Pesticide Use

Oct 9, 2014

Several hundred Iowa corn farmers will soon be asked to share their fertilizer and pesticide use with the US Department of Agriculture. 

Greg Thessen, upper Midwest regional director for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, says the Agricultural Resource Management Survey gives farmers a chance to tell the government how they grow their crops.

“What kind of inputs it takes as far as fertilizer and pesticides go, as well as any pest management practices,” Thessen says, “and really show other people that may not be involved in agriculture how they are good stewards of the land.”

Thessen says selected farmers will receive a notice in the mail and then a USDA employee will visit the farmer to record detailed information about the use of chemical inputs. Thessen says once the data is collated and released to the public next spring, it becomes a tool policymakers can use to evaluate proposed changes.

“This provides a good source of information for them to take a look at,” Thessen says, “and say, okay, if they change a policy what impact is that going to have on farmers and how they grow crops?”

About 10 percent of the 3,500 farmers polled for this year’s corn survey will be in Iowa. The survey is conducted for different crops each year. Thessen says corn growers haven’t been surveyed in this way since 2010.  Next year, soybeans will be the subject of a similar survey.