TABLE 6-1 ARMS Response Rates, 2002-2006

Survey

Year

Sample Size

Response Ratea

ARMS screeningb

2006 *

80,000

77.0

 

2005 *

60,000

77.0

 

2004

73,376

76.6

 

2003

16,638

74.5

 

2002

49,156

76.9

ARMS Phase II production practices

2006 *

5,500

80.9

 

2005 *

5,500

80.9

 

2004

4,755

80.6

 

2003

8,148

79.5

 

2002

3,421

79.2

ARMS Phase III cost and returns

2006 *

30,000

72.0

 

2005

34,203

70.5

 

2004

21,075

67.7

 

2003

33,861

62.8

 

2002

18,219

74.0

aIncludes operations that responded but were out of scope.

bARMS screening identifies operations that have target commodities for Phase II and for the vegetable chemical use survey.

*Estimated.

SOURCE: National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2005 (updated by the agency).

Response Rates

As might be expected, the response rates reported by NASS vary among ARMS phases and years, since the size of the samples and the target audience varies from year to year. Table 6-1 shows the most recent reported and estimated response rates. The response rates are highest for the Phase II survey and highest for the Phase III survey in agricultural census years. The noncensus year Phase III response rates are the most troublesome, since they fail to meet the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) threshold of 80 percent, below which the agency must plan for a nonresponse bias analysis (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2006a, p.8).

Moreover, these published response rates tell only part of the story. The rates for each phase are calculated independently and are shown in Table 6-1. NASS computes the response rate for each phase, as defined by OMB, that is, the percentage of sample units that was accessible and did not refuse the survey. The following formula is used to calculate the response rate for each phase of ARMS:



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