The 2017 Census of Agriculture has been sent to farmers all across the country. Greg Thessen of the National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines, Iowa, says the Census is very important to each and every producer.
The time it will take to fill out the census will depend a lot on whether or not producers have both livestock and crops. It also depends on the number of different commodities each farmer produces. Thessen says the easiest way to fill out the Census of Agriculture is to go online.
It’s also important for farmers to fill out the census because agencies that provide help to producers will use that data to make decisions.
Beginning farmer programs also use the information to establish targets for lending to beginning farmers. Each state also gets a certain level of funding for FSA or NRCS programs, which has to be allocated down to the county level. They use census data to make those decisions.
There shouldn’t be too many surprising questions for farmers while they fill out the census.
Once the information is filled out, it won’t be traced back to an individual farm. It’s also not available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Producer information is kept confidential and only used in aggregate form. The last round of mailings went out to farmers on December 19th and the deadline is set for February 5th.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.