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'Tis the Season to be Counted: U.S. Farmers Give the Gift that Keeps Giving By Participating in 2012 Census

Posted by Renee Picanso, NASS Census and Survey Division Director in Research and Science
Feb 21, 2017

The end of December is typically marked by people returning holiday gifts that don’t fit or aren’t quite right. But this year, farmers and ranchers across the country can give themselves a gift that won’t be returned and will keep on giving even after the holiday season – a voice for their industry and their community.

By filling out the 2012 Census of Agriculture, farmers are investing in the future of their farm and American agriculture. Their responses provide a strong and unified voice about their needs and current state of the industry.  Law makers, government organizations, businesses, town planners and individual farm operations use this valuable information to help shape farm programs, boost rural services, and grow their farm futures. It’s an important investment into the future and well-being of farming and all of agriculture in America.

Conducted only once every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census covers virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture, providing a complete count of the nation’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers do business and succeed in the 21st century.

The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving, but perhaps some of the best gifts are food, clothing and shelter provided to us with help from U.S. farmers. As we gather this season with friends and family, we celebrate and appreciate these essentials of everyday living. By participating in the Census, farmers help tell the story of U.S. agriculture today so that urban and non-farming residents and decision makers can better understand rural and agricultural America.

Farmers and ranchers should receive a Census form in the mail by early January. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013. Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

For more information about the Census, visit or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828). The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.

Category/Topic: Research and Science

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Dec 19, 2012

Once every five years? Liars. It's annual and you know it.

My wife filled it out last year because I refused to wade through an 826-page behemoth to inform you that we have 8 sheep and 10 hens on two acres of pasture, with $1,200 gross revenue and a net loss of $2,600. I had filled it out annually for years until I simply got tired of spending hours and hours finding the proper pages out of the several hundred to fill in these values. There are better uses of my time.

Those values are much the same this year, except that there are now 10 sheep and 11 hens, $1,800 gross revenue and $3,400 net loss.

There, jerks, that's "my story". Fill in the thing yourself and save the postage.

Jan 16, 2013

Apparently, private property is a long gone thing. There is no chance whatsoever that I or anyone I know will fill out this garbage. None of us produce for "commercial" purposes, and no one needs to know how much we have, don't have, produce, sell, barter or trade. The crossed guns on my "No Trespassing" signs are there for a reason. Stay the f**k out of my life, and off my property...

Danna Peterson
Feb 05, 2013 I'm afraid to attempt filling out this thing.
Drought got the garden last summer and 5 chickens died. We do own the 5 acres.