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USDA Measuring Nutrient Management Practices
Illinois Ag Connection - 02/05/2019

Farmers should expect a survey in the mail soon, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture works to measure nutrient management practices.

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting a survey of Illinois farmers for the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) to measure a number of management practices, including use of cover crops, timing of fertilizer applications, and methods of determining nitrogen application rates. In addition, the survey will measure edge of field practices including wood chip bioreactors, constructed wetlands, and saturated buffers.

"We mailed more than 1,000 questionnaires to producers, and I encourage everyone to respond using the postage-paid envelope that we provided. That is the best way to save taxpayer dollars and still gather information from the best source possible, the farmers themselves," said Mark Schleusener, the Illinois state statistician for NASS. "Every individual report is confidential by law and is also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. NASS will only publish and share state totals and averages, never individual farm data," Schleusener continued.

NASS staff intended to mail the surveys in early January, but the federal government shutdown caused a delay. One month after the first mailing, NASS will mail another correspondence to producers who have not yet responded. Finally, NASS will use its St. Louis calling center to call those who do not respond to either mailing. "Our goal is to get the highest response we can and still stay under budget," said Schleusener.

Results from the survey will be published in August. For more information, contact the NASS Heartland Regional Field Office at 800-551-1014.

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