USDA has announced one last push for farmer response to the 2012 Census of Agriculture with a closing of May 31st for return of surveys. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed forms and although Indiana has traditionally done well in response rate, state statistician Greg Matli tells HAT not all the surveys are in yet.
“Well Indiana really doesn’t look too bad,” he said. “We’re in the mid 70’s and we’re trying to get that last push. We have a few counties that aren’t fairing very well so we’re concentrating on making phone calls to those counties. We’re asking all farmers if they haven’t mailed in the census questionnaire to get it back to us. If they’ve lost it they can always call our Ag Census phone number which is 1-888-4AG-STAT.”
Matli says this last push for data is a chance for farmers to have a voice that a wide variety of people and organizations listen to.
“From agribusinesses, town planners, local governments, policy makers, the people that use the Ag Census data is just truly overwhelming. It is every 5 years down to the county level so there’s a lot of information that county people use. Planners and industry can go down to the county to see exact profiles of the county throughout the whole United States.”
That phone number again is 1-888-4AG-STAT, or 1-888-424-7828 and the website is www.agcensus.usda.gov.
“Our nation needs your help to ensure that decisions about U.S. agriculture accurately represent you, your communities, and your industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “For every 158 people in America there is one farm. I urge you to take action today and respond to the Census – your country is counting on the information to help ensure a continued supply of food, fiber and fuel for generations to come.”
The Census of Agriculture, conducted only once every five years, looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business.
“Agriculture in America is an industry built on tradition, honor and pride,” said Vilsack.
Federal law requires a response from everyone who receives the Census form and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.