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Sign-up and Be Counted

Posted by Renee Picanso, Director, Census and Survey Division, National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science
Feb 21, 2017

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA's rich science and research portfolio.

Earlier this month, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), released the latest count of farms in the United States. The nation has nearly 2.2 million farms, a number that has held pretty steady for the past decade. While this number is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Having worked with farmers in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee, I can honestly tell you that agriculture is undergoing major changes. Not only are farmers and ranchers introducing new practices such as organic farming, precision agriculture or renewable energy production, they are as a group increasingly diverse.

This is why, in addition to updating farm numbers annually, NASS also conducts a Census of Agriculture every five years. The Census gives farmers and ranchers of all gender, racial and ethnic groups a chance to have their voices heard.  And the Census doesn’t just collect demographic information. It produces information on land use and ownership, production practices, income and expenditures, and many other important topics at national, state, county and even zip code levels.

While the next Census of Agriculture won’t begin until late December, NASS is already hard at work preparing for it. We have mailed out 1.8 million surveys asking recipients to tell us if they are farming or not so that the Census of Agriculture mailing list is as accurate as possible. You can find more information about the Census and make sure you are counted by clicking here.

I urge all farmers who have not yet participated in the Census to sign up so you can be counted. After all, the Census is your voice, your future and your responsibility.

Category/Topic: Research and Science

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Feb 29, 2012

If this is that imperious behemoth we get mailed to us every year, I want no part of it.

Providing information to the government is only mandatory when the government is totalitarian. Your census is mandatory.

And if that wasn't bad enough, it is geared toward full-time, industrial-scale farming operations. Those who have 10 breeding stock sheep, 9 chickens, no crops and no employees have to search through each of the 275 pages of the damned thing to figure out which of the 3 census questions actually pertain and answer them.

After the first year, I just threw it in the trash. It's not worth my time.

But my wife, responsible person that she is, kept digging it out and spending 5 hours telling you that we have ten sheep, nine hens, no crops and no employees. That could be handled by a sticky-note attached to the first page, and leaving the census form completely blank.

So not only are you people authoritarian pinheads, but you have no idea who you're necessarily dealing with and your *all important survey* is effectively pointless to fill out.

Kevin Glossip
Feb 29, 2012

We are Dairy Farmers