The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) census deadline is approaching. The public has until February 5, 2018, to respond to the Census of Agriculture. Under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113, agricultural producers are required to submit their information to the government.
The census was mailed in several phases through December. Data from farm operations of all sizes, which produced or sold (or normally would have sold) $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017, will be included.
"The Census of Agriculture is USDA's largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most widely used statistics in the industry," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide the world with food, fuel, feed, and fiber. Every response matters."
This year, NASS revised census forms to document changes and emerging trends across the industry. There are now questions about food marketing practices, as well as questions aimed at better capturing data on female and beginning farmers.
"Producers can respond to the census online or by mail. We highly recommend the updated online questionnaire. We heard what people wanted and we made responding to the census easier than ever," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. "The online questionnaire now has timesaving features, such as automatic calculations, and the convenience of being accessible on mobile and desktop devices."