December 15, 2017
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has started mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the nation’s producers.
Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development and more.
The census will be mailed in several phases this month. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more in agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census.
The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation, according to USDA.
NASS has updated the census forms to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes include a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to help better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers and others involved in running a farm enterprise.
“Producers can respond to the census online or by mail. We highly recommend the updated online questionnaire, which should make responding to the census easier than ever,” says Dan Lofthus, NASS state statistician. “The online questionnaire now has time-saving features, such as automatic calculations, and the convenience of being accessible on mobile and desktop devices.”
The census response deadline is Feb. 5, 2018.
Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113.
The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only to publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019.
For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit agcensus.usda.gov, or call 800-727-9540.
Source: NASS Upper Midwest Regional Office
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