USDA Census of Agriculture forms will start showing up in farmers’ mailboxes in December. The national census is conducted by the National Ag Statistics Service every five years and it’s extremely important that farmers take time to respond.
Barbara Ratner is the census and survey director at NASS and she says, “The census is aimed at getting a complete count of all farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. The census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenses.” The last Census of Ag found two million farms and ranches covering more than 914 million acres in America. The census is a critical item that gives farmers and ranchers a chance to influence future policy decisions. “This information is important to all those agencies that serve farmers, ranchers, and the rural communities they live in,” says Ratner. “Everyone from federal, state, and local government agencies to agribusinesses and trade associations all look at the numbers.”
Federal law requires all agricultural producers to complete the census and requires NASS to keep all of the information private.