The National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) has reportedly mailed its census to farmers across the U.S. to collect agriculture data in order to help farmers develop farming initiatives, make business decisions, and shape rural services. Every five years, NASS conducts the survey to gather information on land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect 21st century farming.
The NASS census is the only official source of consistent and comprehensive agriculture data for every U.S. state and county. According to the USDA, the census results affect policy decisions, farm community development, and business expansion; it also informs where supplies of local produce and agriculture can be found. NASS stresses the importance of returning completed forms quickly and accurately so that farming continues in a productive direction. The USDA reported that the census is also a way of educating urban and non-farming residents about the value of agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides farmers with a powerful voice. The information gathered through the Census influences policy decisions that can have a tremendous impact on farmers and their communities for years to come.” Vilsack also noted that the census is important to a farmer’s success as a business person because it educates individuals about local and national challenges facing agriculture.
The census is due from farmers by February 3, 2013 so that the data may be collected, reviewed, and released to farmers as soon as possible. Timely data will allow for better understanding and practices to be implemented into the farming community as well as the overall U.S. agriculture industry.
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