USDA is set to release a preliminary look at 2012 Ag Census results on Feb. 20, during the Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. Full results are expected later in the spring.
A first look at the data will include number of farms, land in farms (acreage), market value of agricultural products sold (including government payments), and demographics at the state and national levels and for Puerto Rico.
"The Census of Agriculture is a key resource used in evaluating and implementing policies and programs to help the U.S. agriculture economy, invest in rural America and support the next generation of farmers," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says.
Following the data release at noon ET on Feb. 20, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will hold a detailed session at 1:30 p.m. ET to provide a more in-depth overview of the preliminary results.
The report and all information will also be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
According to NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark, the agency has made some advancements to gather more information and refine the methodology it uses to produce the most complete and accurate statistics.
Since 1840, the census has kept a record of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. For the 2012 Census, NASS asked new questions on Internet access, regional food systems, biomass production, agro-forestry and equine.
NASS also used additional steps in analyzing the data to account for three areas of concern in conducting a survey of this magnitude: undercoverage, nonresponse, and misclassification as to whether a property is a farm or not. This methodology produces final estimates that account for all farms in the U.S.
As a measure of transparency and data usability, NASS says it is publishing the coefficient of variation associated with all estimates at the national and state level. As NASS continues to analyze data to the county level, changes in the initial estimates may occur from the preliminary report to the final report, they note.
USDA says a date for full release of the data will be set "as soon as possible."
For more information on the census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.