Richard A Barton

Agricultural Economist


Richard Barton (Agricultural Economist) has worked on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) survey for over 11 years. He works with ERS staff to create the data used to produce annual income statements and balance sheets for farm businesses. He insures ARMS data quality by tracking ongoing developments in ARMS program, including survey/questionnaire design, farm business strategies, farm financial accounting, and government programs necessary to develop accurate farm financial measures.

Richard advises researchers on the characteristics and suitability of the ARMS data, and actively participates in selected research projects related to farm finances, farm structure, farm operator decision-making, and the well-being of family farm households, where results are reported in Agency reports, website, and peer-reviewed journal articles. He also works with ERS ARMS management team members to ensure that survey and database development tasks are accomplished in a timely manner and has an active role in coordinating with NASS on issues concerning all phases of ARMS. He represents ERS in joint survey outreach and training efforts; and advises senior ERS management on major survey and research database decisions.


After a long career in production agriculture, Richard's government service started when he joined NASS in 2001 and spent 3 years in the NASS ND Field Office. He accepted the ARMS III Commodity Statistician position at NASS and moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005. Then, after directing the ARMS survey for 7 years, joined the ERS team in 2011.

Richard's career includes owning/developing a top producing Holstein dairy herd, writing articles for trade journals, consulting on financial and business management, teaching vocational agriculture, and managing a private research "water buffalo" ranch.

Growing up in California, Richard was active in FFA and worked on a cash-and-carry dairy during high school. After high school, he adopted the Mid-west and throughout his career has lived and worked in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.


  • Iowa State University (Bachelors of Science in Dairy Production - 73))
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Masters in Dairy Business Analysis - 94_Research MBA in Ag Econ)