The Census of Agriculture is administered every five-years and the latest survey of U.S. farmers and ranchers is underway now.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts the census. Greg Matli is the deputy director of the Indiana Field Office.
He says the questionnaire will go out to a little more than 78,000 Hoosiers.
“For those people who do not know much about agriculture, they’re going to go to the Census of Agriculture for their information. So, this is the time for the farmer to tell their story. It’s their voice that can be heard, and it’s their responsibility to tell their story.”
Matli says those who don’t cooperate and fail to provide information are just hurting themselves. He says the census is the go-to source for reliable data.
“Anyone who is looking at either the rural economics, or even economics in general, how much agriculture contributes, the Census of Agriculture is always the baseline. Every five years they can down and grab the information. They know it’s across all states and not just the major-producing states.”
Individual information is kept confidential and the results are released as aggregate data both statewide and at the county level for all 50-states. That will include income and expenses, production levels, acreage, energy sources, and organic operations.
Matli says the aim is to get everyone in the agricultural industry counted, no matter what they produce.
“Those people not contacted every year by NASS should share their story at this point in time, because, for example, we don’t collect information on elk or deer or bison (livestock operations) the other four years. So, during the Census of Agriculture, is the only times those items would be collected.”
Responding to the census is mandatory. Farmers and ranchers have until February 4th to respond, which can be done online HERE.
The information from the Census will be released in February of 2014.