Farm Progress

4-H and NASS would like to hear from you

Jennifer Kiel, Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

May 12, 2017

3 Min Read

Now is the time to make yourself heard in more ways than one way. 4-H needs you to “Raise Your Hand,” to empower the next generation of true leaders, while the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service needs to hear from you for the 2017 Census of Agriculture, as well as for two of its most important annual surveys it conducts.

First, 4-H
As part of a national 4-H movement, 4-H alumni across the nation are being asked to “Raise Your Hand and Pay It Forward.” By raising your hand, which is actually just filling in your name, address and email online, you’ll be paying it forward to the next generation of 4-H’ers. Show your 4-H pride and help bring the same opportunities you enjoyed to additional kids in the state.

No one knows better than 4-H alumni how much 4-H impacts young people by giving the opportunity to learn by doing, grow from failure and develop the skills needed to handle what life throws at you. To make it fun with a competitive edge, you have until June 30 to be part of a contest. Every alumnus hand raised will count as a vote for their state with cash prizes of $20,000 for the state with the most votes, and $10,000 and $5,000 for second and third.

Way to go Ohio — keep it up. As of this writing, Ohio had raised more hands — 10,217 — than any other state, and in doing so, is in the running for the top prize. Running in second place is Indiana with 7,362, while Texas is third with 2,944.

You can also “Pay It Forward” by posting and sharing your #4HGrown experience on social media and tag fellow alumni asking them to raise their hands at

Second, USDA
Filling out surveys in June I’m sure is not exactly first on the to-do list, but make sure it makes the list and it gets done. Surveys for the Census of Agriculture were mailed the end of the year. Did you fill yours out?

It’s only conducted every five years and remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation. It highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics.

It is in your best interest to complete the survey, as the census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, Extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future and your opportunity to impact services and assistance programs for years to come.

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting and clicking on the “Make sure you are counted” button through June.

Also, two major midyear surveys are being conducted: the June Agricultural Survey (also known as the Crops/Stocks Survey) and the June Area Survey.

By responding to these surveys, growers are providing essential information that helps NASS determine the prospective production and supply of major commodities for the 2017 crop year. Everyone who relies on agriculture for their livelihoods is interested in the results.

NASS gathers the data for the June Agricultural Survey online, by mail, phone and in-person interviews. For the June Area Survey, agency representatives visit randomly selected tracts of land and interview the operators of any farm or ranch on that land. Growers provide information on crop acreage — including biotech crops — as well as grain stocks, livestock inventory, cash rents, land values and value of sales. 

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports. All reports are available on the NASS website.

For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Great Lakes Regional Field Office at 800-453-7501. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visit or call 800-727-9540.


About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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