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Table of Contents

  1. Contact an ARMS Expert
  2. Request a New ARMS Special Tabulation
  3. Currently Available ERS Special Tabulations of ARMS Data
  4. Procedures for Requesting Access to Raw ARMS Data
  5. Help Us Improve the Survey Instrument

Contact an ARMS Expert

Mitch Morehart (farm sector income and finances); Jim MacDonald (industrial organization and farm structure); Robert Dubman (data access)

Request a New ARMS Special Tabulation

ARMS estimates are created by ERS analysts and may be part of their research or in response to an outside request.

Both ERS and NASS provide a procedure for requesting special tabulations of ARMS data. Requests for new tabulations of the ARMS data are reviewed and completed when the requested estimates are not published elsewhere and the following criteria are met.

Requests from non-Government sources must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Is output topical and of interest to a wide range of ARMS customers.
  • Request is reasonable and best fulfilled with ARMS data. ERS managers will review each request to make that determination.
  • Resources are available to complete the tabulations without disturbing regular work duties.
  • Costs for tabulations vary with the complexity of the request. Simple tabulations may be done free of charge. Fees for larger and more complex special tabulations are $500 per staff day for the required number of days to complete the tabulation and disclosure review.
  • ARMS is collected under a pledge of confidentiality and estimates that might reveal a farm operator's response will be suppressed. ARMS tabulations and statistical estimates based on collected sample sizes have confidence limits surrounding the estimate. Information provided will be screened for disclosure violations and estimates with statistical reliability concerns will be identified.
  • Tables will be provided directly to the requestor and, at the same time, will be publicly identified and made available for request by all others.

ERS provides special tabulations on the full range of ARMS data subjects. Examples are income, expenditures, farm operator and household demographics. To request an unpublished ARMS tabulation from ERS, please contact Mitch Morehart ( morehart@ers.usda.gov) or Steve Crutchfield ( scrutch@ers.usda.gov).

NASS provides special tabulations of ARMS data centered on the farm expenditures. The Special tabulations webpage explains their process and provides a list of current request, many not related to ARMS.

Currently Available ERS Special Tabulations of ARMS Data

The following tables have been prepared by ERS in response to requests for special tabulations and are now available to the public at no cost upon request. To receive a copy of the listed analyses contact Robert Dubman ( bdubman@ers.usda.gov) and specify the ID number.

Listing of Available ERS Special ARMS Tabulations
ID number Detailed description and keywords ARMS phase and years Major categorical variables Requester and organization Date released
001 Corn-producing farms, by participation in Federal crop insurance and conservation compliance Phase III, 2009 Crop insurance and conservation compliance Mitch Hunter, American Farmland Trust Dec. 2011
002 Participation rates in FSA loans, by Farm Service Agency as a lender Phase III, 2009 FSA lender, region, size, farm typology Stephanie Mercier, Agricultural Perspectives Dec. 2011
003 Soybean-, cotton-, or rice- producing farms, by participation in Federal crop insurance and conservation compliance Phase III, 2009 Crop insurance and conservation compliance Mitch Hunter, American Farmland Trust Jan. 2012

Procedures for Requesting Access to Raw ARMS Data

ARMS data can be made available to qualified researchers at U.S. universities or government agencies. These projects must be formally administered through a Memorandum of Understanding and project agreement between ERS, NASS, and the responsible research organization. ERS and NASS will review proposed projects to determine if ARMS data are suitable for the hypotheses and if sample size available is adequate to support the analysis.

ARMS data may be used for statistical purposes only; they may not be used for non-statistical purposes, such as regulatory or enforcement purposes or release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In addition, all estimates must pass strict nondisclosure reviews. Entities and individuals outside USDA with access to this confidential survey data are subject to the same Federal statutes that apply to USDA and its employees. Under these statutes, individuals who unlawfully disclose confidential data are subject to fines and other penalties.

The following steps are required to get approval to access ARMS data:

  • Complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ERS/NASS and your organization, which grants access to ARMS data exclusively for statistical purposes with agreement of the requesting institution
  • Complete a Project Agreement, for each research project that will access ARMS, providing a brief project description and objective, a listing of the data sets needed, and the planned outputs.
  • Receive confidentiality training and sign the NASS ADM-043 confidentiality agreement in the presence of a NASS official.
  • Once formal agreements have been signed, access to ARMS data is provided:
    • at one of the 12 NASS Regional offices (depending on availability of office and computer resources),
    • via the internet through the NORC Data Enclave at the University of Chicago (fees are charged for access), or
    • at ERS or NASS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • A Non-Federal Partner account on MAX.gov limited to the ERS-USDA-External group is granted. This provides access to ARMS documentation that supplements the information available on the ERS website. It provides up-to-date document storage, a search engine, and a forum is provided to help answer routine questions.
  • To request access to the detailed micro data, contact Bob Dubman, Survey and Data Coordinator, ERS Resource and Rural Economics Division, by phone (202) 694-5506 or e-mail bdubman@ers.usda.gov.

Help Us Improve the Survey Instrument

To recommend questions for inclusion in the ARMS survey, directly contact Bob Dubman, Data and Survey Coordinator, Office of the Director, Resource Economics Division, ERS at bdubman@ers.usda.gov or phone (202) 694-5506.

Last updated: Tuesday, December 02, 2014

For more information contact: Robert Dubman and Mitch Morehart

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