Census countdown begins for Iowa’s farmers and ranchers
Iowa’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their industry and communities by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.
The Census of Agriculture provides a wealth of information to everyone at Iowa State University that are involved in agriculture. It is important in tracking trends, analyzing farm demographics, as well as developing extension programing and decision tools for farmers. Census information provides a voice for farmers and helps shape the future of the industry. Your answers to the Census also impact farm programs and rural services that support your community so, do your part and be counted when you receive your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the Census can reveal.
The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation and looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics. Farm and commodity organizations, state departments of agriculture, elected representatives and legislators at all levels of government, public and private sector analysts, news media, community-based organizations, and USDA agencies all routinely use data from the Census of Agriculture for a wide variety of purposes. They use the information to:
- Promote the agricultural industry.
- Formulate, evaluate, change, and propose policies and programs that help farmers.
- Identify services and facilities needed in rural communities.
- Develop and improve methods to increase agricultural production and profitability.
- Allocate local and national funds for farm programs (including extension service projects, conservation programs, farm loan programs, research, and land grant universities).
- Develop grant proposals to address rural and agricultural issues.
NASS will mail out Census forms in mid-December to collect data for the 2017 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 5, 2018. Producers can fill out the Census online via a secure website at www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail. Federal law requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.