The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) is conducting the Fruit Chemical Use Survey this fall to gather reliable, objective information about pesticides used on fruit crops.

Information gathered from growers in 12 states, including California, will be used to set state and national estimates on chemical use for 24 fruit crops.

NASS representatives from the California Field Office were to begin contacting fruit growers the first week in October to collect information on pesticides used, acres treated and rates applied.

“Because of the challenges and unique issues facing today's fruit growers, participation in this survey is vital. Only by contacting growers directly can NASS compile and publish the most reliable statistics possible,” said Vic Tolomeo, director, California Agricultural Statistics.

“USDA has an obligation to publish reliable, useful data on chemical applications. This survey will give growers an opportunity to tell how they use agricultural chemicals responsibly to produce a safe, abundant food supply for the United States and the world,” Tolomeo added.

“Survey results are official USDA data that help clarify the facts about chemical use in agriculture. The information is used in the decision-making process for the Food Quality Protection Act which has an impact on pesticide registrations, re-registrations and product alternatives.”

USDA-NASS closely guards the confidentiality of all survey responses.

“Information collected from individual operations is combined with other responses to protect the identity of specific operations. We never disclose any data about an individual operation,” Tolomeo said. NASS will publish the Fruit Chemical Usage report with state and national estimates of fruit growers' use of agricultural chemicals in July 2006.