Farm Census on its Way

The National Agricultural Statistical Service, or NASS, will soon mail out the 2012 farm census forms to farmers nationwide. The census, which will not be complete for about a year, compiles valuable data on farm demographics, crop production, land use, economic viability, and information about farm owners and operators.

Compiling accurate information on the state of the farm sector is vitally important for the federal government. Farm programs, farm loans, subsidies, crop insurance premiums, and countless federal programs are largely determined through consultation with farm census information.

Census forms will be sent to farmers at the end of the month. “The questionnaires will go in the mail the last week of December,” said Bob Bass at the NASS office in St. Louis, “and so they should arrive in farmers and ranchers mailboxes either late December or early January. And it’s very important that every farmer respond because that’s the opportunity to get a measure of agriculture on the lowest level, down to the county and down to the township within the county. We county the farms and measure agriculture completely every five years, and that’s why it’s so important that we get a true and accurate picture.”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also stressed the importance of filling out the census information. “The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides farmers with a powerful voice. The information gathered through the Census influences policy decisions that can have a tremendous impact on farmers and their communities for years to come,” said Vilsack. “I strongly encourage all farmers, no matter how large or small their operation, to promptly complete and return their Census, so they can voice to the nation the value and importance of agriculture.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer