It’s not a Christmas card, and it’s not a picture of long-lost family. But this month, U.S. farmers and ranchers will receive an important item in their mailboxes--the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
The 2012 Census of Agriculture will collect information concerning all areas of farming and ranching operations. This confidential information will be used by everyone who provides services to farmers and rural communities — including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, and others. Census data is used to make decisions about many things that directly impact farmers, including:
- community planning
- store/company locations
- availability of operational loans and other funding
- location and staffing of service centers
- farm programs and policies
Conducted once every five years, the Census of Agriculture is an important opportunity for producers to make their voices heard. FFA members can advocate that farmers and ranchers in their area participate—regardless of the type or size of the operation.
Census forms will be mailed in late December, and mail or online responses should be provided by Feb. 4, 2013. Participation by every farmer and rancher is vitally important. By responding to the census, producers are helping themselves, their communities and all of U.S. agriculture.