Farm Census to Begin Soon

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, helps everyone in the agricultural industry (from farmers planning an upcoming harvest to U.S. Department of Agriculture officials planning farm subsidy funding).

Like its federal counterpart, the farm census occupies a unique place in the U.S. Sent out to all farms (which the NASS defines as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced or sold), participation is mandated by federal law.

The reason participation is mandatory is because the farm census offers the only comprehensive, statistical look at American farms and their operators. Taken every five years, the census collects information on land use and ownership, operator demographics, income and expenditures, and farm practices.

The federal government uses census information when preparing farm bills and debating farm policy, community planners and farm support agencies use the information to target support to local residents, farmers and ranchers use the information to plan for the future of their businesses, and companies that service the farm sector use the information to help plan the locations of future operations. Virtually no element of the agricultural industry is unaffected by the farm census.

Farm census information will be available in February 2014.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer