Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C-I, Elma) is urging New York farmers and agricultural producers to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The survey is conducted every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and is the only complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and their operators. Census data are used to create and fund agricultural programs and services at the federal level.
“The census is the best way to ensure the federal government has accurate information about the agriculture industry,” Gallivan said. “Census results are used to identify areas of need and have a direct impact on funding for things like research, marketing and other programs to support farming, which is vital to New York’s economy.”
The census questionnaire will be mailed to more than three million U.S. farmers and ranchers this year. Responses are due by February 5, 2018 and the results will be available beginning in February 2019. The Census of Agriculture includes information on farms and ranches growing crops or raising animals that sold or normally would have sold at least $1,000 of such products during the census year. Federal law requires that information on individual farming operations be kept confidential and the data be used for statistical purposes only.
This year, NASS is encouraging farmers to respond online. It has revised the web-based questionnaire to make it quicker and easier to use. The online questionnaire is accessible at the NASS website, https://www.nass.usda.gov/.
For the first time this year, producers will see a new question about military veteran status to better understand if farming has become a viable career path for servicemen and women and to help direct outreach and programs toward veterans. The census will also include expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to gain insight on the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers, and others.
The last Census of Agriculture was conducted in 2012. For more information about the census, please visit the NASS website or call (800) 727-9540.