As the rush of the holidays starts to wind down next week, USDA will be ramping up as census forms for farmers and ranchers go into the mail. The census, taken every five years, allows the ag agency to get a sense of the health of agriculture.
In an Associated Press report, one USDA official notes that the census provides a way for farmers to have their voice in the future. That ag data is used by a lot of groups and provides information needed for supporting the industry.
The data from the census is used for development of the farm bill and other federal policy from renewable fuels to taxes. Farmers know the information has value, and as farm size changes and businesses change, some may wonder about providing the information requested on the form.
The questions cover everything from production information to the age of equipment inventory on the farm. It's information policymakers can use to improve farm programs; and it's data the industry seeks to better serve a rapidly changing U.S. industry.
Completed forms are due Feb. 4, 2008. You can fill out the form you get in the mail, or answer questions online.
Learn more at www.agcensus.usda.gov.