According to a December 4 press release, the National Agricultural Statistic Service division of the USDA has this week begun to mail the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the national’s farmers. The census is a critical tool in determining the number of farms there are in the country, and their economic health. All farms which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are required to participate in the census.
“The Census of Agriculture is USDA’s largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most widely used statistics in the industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide the world with food, fuel, feed and fiber. Every response matters.” 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.
This year, the NASS has made it easier for farmers to complete the census. In addition to the ‘snail mail’ census, there is now an updated online questionnaire, with auto calculations and online and desktop compatibility.
The deadline for submitting the census response is February 5, 2018. Response is required by law. All information received is required to be kept confidential and is to be used only for statistical purposes. The data will only be published in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identities of any individual producer or farm operation. The results of the census will be released in February 2019.
Here is a link to the NASS Census PowerPoint presentation:
And here is a link to the USDA Census website for all the information you and your constituents might need:
Please urge your farmer constituents to fill out the questionnaire and submit it prior to the deadline. It is only with accurate data that we can know what our farmers need and how to get it to them.