Fill Out Census Form to Shape Ag's Future

Completed forms are due by Feb. 4.

It's not every day that a walk to your mailbox leads to an opportunity to shape the future of the agricultural industry.

But for farmers and ranchers across Nebraska, that opportunity soon will become a reality. The 2007 Census of Agriculture, the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation, is currently being mailed to farmers across the United States, says Joe Parson, director of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service field office in Lincoln.

Conducted every five years by NASS, the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. Government organizations, lawmakers, town planners, and individual farm operations can use this vital information to help them plan for future facilities, services, and community growth.

"The 2007 Census of Agriculture provides farmers and ranchers with a powerful voice," Parson says. "The information gathered through the Census influences policy decisions that can have a tremendous impact on farmers and their communities. "I strongly encourage all farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to promptly complete and return the Census, so they can voice to the nation the value and importance of agriculture."

In addition to affecting policy decisions, Census information also influences community growth. Many companies review Census data when determining where to establish their businesses, which further emphasizes the importance of supplying accurate information.

"The 2007 Census of Agriculture is an opportunity to shape the future of the agricultural industry and rural communities for years to come," says Parsons. "Every producer, no matter how big or small the operation, should take advantage of that opportunity."

Completed forms are due by Feb. 4, 2008. Producers can return their forms by mail or, for the first time, they have the option of filling out the Census online.

For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call toll-free (888) 4AG-STAT or (888) 424-7828.

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