Kansas agriculture producers are being asked to give up the farm, information-wise, to give the state a better idea of ag health.
The Kansas Agriculture Statistics office is contacting 600 farmers statewide for a survey designed to reveal detailed information about producers' expenses, income, finances, production practices and other areas.
"We'll be asking all kinds of questions -- the amount of fuel used and everything," said Bryan Schmitz, state ag statistics researcher. "We'll also have non-farming questions, like if their spouse works out of the home and that type of thing."
Schmitz said only three Douglas County farmers have been targeted in the survey.
"The main reason is the survey focuses more on wheat producers," he said. Schmitz said Douglas County had relatively few large-scale wheat farmers compared to western Kansas counties.
The Farm Costs and Returns Survey gives state and federal agriculture officials a clear picture of the ag system's strengths and weaknesses, Schmitz said. Policy-makers and analysts rely heavily on survey figures when making decisions on foreign trade, the environment, energy and other issues that affect farmers and ranchers.
Survey results also play into farm bill deliberations. For instance, previous surveys have identified potential impacts of changes in the Conservation Reserve Program, one of the key issues to be debated in the 1995 Farm Bill.
Representatives of the ag statistics office, part of the U.S. and state departments of agriculture, are notifying prospective survey participants by mail, and interviewers will visit them personally to conduct the survey.