My kitchen table was full of papers last week and I wasn’t even working on taxes.
I was doing my farmer duty by participating in the most recent United States Census of Agriculture – commonly referred to by many as the USDA farm survey. Whatever you call it, this document provides valuable information about the industry to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
A postcard mailed to producers last month from Hubert Hamer, NASS administrator, said, “Your response provides valuable information to those who support farmers and rural communities and shows every American the magnitude and importance of your industry. The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future and your opportunity to shape policies, services and assistance programs for years to come.”
According to USDA, a reply is required from anyone who receives a report form in the mail. This would include individuals operating a farm, ranch or other operation related to agriculture in 2017. If a form is not turned in, you may be contacted multiple times from the government agency. Some of the information which needs to be provided includes land enrolled in federal conservation programs, the amount of acreage in your operation, land use in 2017, ag practices and information on land rented or leased from others for cash.
Those of you with questions about the survey can refer to the lengthy instruction sheet also included in the mailing. The census can be completed online at www.agcounts.usda.gov. Anyone needing assistance can call 888-424-7828. USDA assures us the responses will remain confidential as required by law.
As noted on the USDA website, preparing for this census is like preparing for tax filing season since you will need to figure out income breakdowns, expenditures, farm labor details and products used on the farm. Completion takes around 40-50 minutes but that time can be shortened considerably by reporting online. You may recall filling out the census a few short years ago in 2012. Results from that survey were released in May 2014.
By the way, did I mention the current survey is due today, Feb. 5?
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