Attention farmers — you’ve got mail!
And the data nerds rejoiced. This week, more than 3 million producers across the country will begin to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Every US farmer and rancher who fits the census definition of a “farm” (any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold) should fill out this important survey.
The Census is distributed once every five years (see 2012 results here) in order to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The rich data that results is used by farmers, trade associations, policy makers, nonprofits, and many others for a range of different things: community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, and rural development, to name just a few.
This year, the Census has been revised in attempt to document changes in the farming industry and better capture the roles of beginning and women farmers. You will see new or expanded questions about military veteran status, food marketing practices, and on-farm decision-making.
The Census arrives via postal mail, but it can be filled out online—in fact, census administrators recommend the online questionnaire, which has timesaving features and the convenience of being accessible on mobile and desktop devices.
Ready to fill out your census? Grab the paper copy and head to this address (you’ll need the 17-digit Survey Code on your envelope): https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cawi