WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is urging farmers and ranchers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than two million completed census forms.
"Our nation needs your help to ensure that decisions about U.S. agriculture accurately represent you, your communities and your industry," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "For every 158 people in America, there is one farm. I urge you to take action today and respond to the census – your country is counting on the information to help ensure a continued supply of food, fiber and fuel for generations to come."
The Census of Agriculture, conducted only once every five years, is the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The information is used by agribusinesses, town planners, local governments, and policy makers, as well as farmers, ranchers, growers and others to shape farm programs, boost rural services and grow the future of farming.
"Agriculture in America is an industry built on tradition, honor and pride," said Vilsack. "We have heard this from the farmers and ranchers who completed their Census of Agriculture form. It's not too late for those who have not yet responded to join the generations of producers who participated in the Agriculture Census since it was first conducted in 1840. Only you can continue to provide the facts straight from the farm."
The 2012 Census will provide a complete picture of agriculture that will be used to shape the future of agriculture, rural America, and the lives of those USDA serves for years to come. The deadline to respond to the Census of Agriculture is only a few weeks away on May 31. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) may contact producers by phone or in person to collect census information since time is running out.
Farmers and ranchers can also return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires a response from everyone who receives the census form and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
For more information about the census, including helpful tips on completing your form, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 888-4AG-STAT (888-424-7828).