America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s or USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service or NASS, the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.
“The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation,” NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer said. “ As such, 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 survey highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics.
The 2012 census revealed that more than 3 million farmers operated more than 2 million farms, spanning more than 914 million acres. This was a 4 percent decrease in the number o f U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007.
However, agriculture sales, income and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012.
This information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the census.
“Today, when data are so important, there is strength in numbers,” Hamer said. “ For farmers and ranchers, participation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future and their opportunity to shape American agriculture — its policies, services and assistance programs — for years to come.”
Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a survey in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 report form by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June.
NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year, in this case 2017.
For more information call 800-727-9540 or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.