Organic Growers Urged to Fill Out Vegetable Chemical Use Survey

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is researching how the produce industry will fare economically under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and grower participation in the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2016 Vegetable Chemical Use Survey is vital to the success of the study.

You may have received a postcard notifying you that you were selected to participate in this survey. It is being distributed randomly to vegetable growers in 19 states. One question on the survey covers biological pesticides. Other questions ask about practices commonly used by organic growers such as scouting, use of lures, and using weather models to estimate pest pressure. Organic growers provide useful information on alternative production practices when they participate in the Chemical Use Survey.

A key component of the survey is examining food safety by comparing organic and conventional growing operations. Questions on grower food safety practices are included at the end of the survey. These questions will help identify aspects of FSMA compliance that may be challenging for vegetable growers and will help develop guidance for growers on how to comply with the regulations.

NASS is conducting the survey until January 13, 2017. Survey responses are completely confidential, as required by federal law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. NASS removes all personally-identifiable information before providing basic data to ERS. In addition, ERS only publishes combined information, further ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.

NASS will follow up with phone calls or personal visits to those selected to participate in the survey. ERS encourages those contacted by NASS to fill out the survey in order to help accurately quantify the economic impacts of FSMA. The information obtained in these surveys is critical to good policy making and policy implementation.

For further information, contact Gregory Astill, USDA-ERS, gregory.astill@ers.usda.gov, or Nathanial Warenski, USDA-NASS, nathanial.warenski@nass.usda.gov.

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This article was submitted by Gregory Astill, USDA-Economic Research Service.

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