To gather reliable, objective information about pesticides used on vegetables, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture are surveying vegetable growers in 18 states during late 2002. The Texas Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey, and information gathered from growers and to produce state and national summaries of producers' use of pesticides on 23 vegetable crops.

“USDA has an obligation to provide reliable data on pesticide use and this survey gives NASS the information necessary to do that” said state statistician Robin O. Roark. He said accurate and complete responses from farmers will provide information on which pesticides are used and how they are used.

Local interviewers from the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service are now contacting vegetable producers to gather information on vegetable crops — chemicals used, acres treated, and rates applied. Individual grower information is strictly confidential and individual reports are combined to set state and national totals.

The survey gives growers an opportunity to tell how they use agricultural chemicals responsibly to produce a safe and abundant food supply for America and the world. The survey results published by USDA help to clarify the facts about chemical use in agriculture.

Accurate and timely information on actual usage is used in the decision-making process for the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) that has an impact on the product registration, re-registration, and product alternatives.

NASS will publish the resulting state and national totals of vegetable growers' use of agricultural chemicals in July 2003. The Vegetable Chemical Usage Report will contain information on percent of acres covered, rate per application, rate per crop year, and total amount applied for the states surveyed.

All agricultural statistics published by NASS are available at www.usda.gov/nass// For more information, call 1-800-626-3142.