The 2017 Census of Agriculture is underway, giving producers the opportunity to make a positive impact on their industry and community. Conducted once every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture.
The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about Iowa’s agriculture especially for fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops which NASS does not report on annually. The picture most people have of Iowa agriculture is of corn and soybean fields along with cattle and hog operations. The Census helps show the true diversity of Iowa’s agriculture and the importance of each industry to the overall agricultural economy in the state.
The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation and is used throughout the industry. Farm and commodity organizations, state departments of agriculture, elected representatives and legislators at all levels of government, public and private sector analysts, news media, agribusinesses, extension educators, 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.
- Develop market strategies and create more efficient production and distribution systems.
- 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.
Every response, no matter how large or small an operation may be, is important. Completed forms are due by February 5, 2018. Producers can respond online at www.agcensus.usda.gov (taking advantage of new timesaving features and the convenience of being accessible on most mobile and desktop devices) or by mail. Federal law requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540. The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your opportunity.