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All farmers who earned $1,000 in farm profits during 2012 must fill out the Census of Agriculture by the end of March.
Although the deadline for the 2012 Census of Agriculture passed at the beginning of February, the USDA is giving farmers and ranchers who have not yet filled out the survey a chance to participate by extending the deadline to the end of March 2013.
As of Feb. 6, 2013, 1.4 million census forms were returned. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the census and requires the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which does the reporting, to keep all individual information confidential. Anyone with more than $1,000 in farm sales in 2012 is considered a farmer for the census. The USDA urges those who missed the deadline to return the survey by the extended deadline. NASS will follow up via phone or personal visit with individual farmers and ranchers who have not submitted a survey by March 14, 2013.
"Information from the Census of Agriculture helps USDA monitor trends and better understand the needs in agriculture,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Providing industry stakeholders, community leaders, lawmakers and individual farm operators with the most comprehensive and accurate U.S. agricultural reports, we all help ensure the tools are available to make informed, sound decisions to protect the future of American agriculture.”
Conducted every five years, the census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture: land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. Farmers who did not respond by the original due date will receive another copy of the census form in the mail.
"Accurate and comprehensive information from all farmers and ranchers is important so that the census can provide a true picture of U.S. agriculture today and help everyone plan appropriately for future,” Vilsack says. "This level of information is only gathered and released once every five years, so we need the participation of every producer to ensure the agricultural industry and rural America receive the representation that will provide them with the most benefit and value.”
Farmers and ranchers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting the secure website. For more information about the Ag Census, including helpful tips on completing your census form, visit the Census of Agriculture website or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).