2022 Census of Agriculture: What’s in it for me?

Just about everybody knows about the United States Census, which is conducted every 10 years by the government to try to get an accurate count of citizens in the United States. But, there is another census that is very important to those in the agriculture community.

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Conducted every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides valuable information used at the local, state and national levels to plan for the future.

In November, the NASS will send out an invitation to respond online, followed by mailing the 2022 Census of Agriculture questionnaires to millions of agriculture producers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico in December. The Census of Agriculture defines a farm as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the year. The information collected helps the USDA work with other organizations and rural communities to develop short-term and long-term improvements, strategies, and safeguards to better serve you. The Census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county. By participating in the Census, you help show the value and importance of U.S. agriculture.

Census data is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities from federal, state, and local governments to agribusinesses and trade associations. Companies and cooperatives can use the information to determine the locations of facilities that will serve agricultural producers. Often legislators use the information when shaping farm policies and programs. And, of course, Cooperative Extension uses Census data to help make informed decisions about developing future programs.

The information you supply through your Census response, regardless of how large or small your operation, is important. Some of the information you provide is not collected by any other means and helps to provide new tools and reports. You can respond to the Census either online via a secure website or return your form by mail. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus or call 800-727-9540. Completed forms are due by Febr. 6, 2023.

Make a difference for the future of U.S. agriculture. Participate with the rest of America’s farmers and ranchers. The Census is your voice, your future and your responsibility.

Nelson Brownlee is a Cooperative Extension area small farms agent. He can be contacted by calling 910-671-3276, by email at [email protected], or by going online to http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

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