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National return rate of USDA ag census is lower


South Dakota Ag Connection - April 25, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is reminding farmers that the window is closing on the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. To date, NASS has received more than 1.5 million completed questionnaires. But the national return rate is currently lower than at this point in the 2012 Census. NASS is encouraging U.S. producers who have not returned their completed Census questionnaires to do so as soon as possible to avoid phone and in-person follow-up.

NASS is grateful for the response from producers to date, but it is important that others who received a Census questionnaire join their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family in being part of the Census count," said Administrator Hubert Hamer.

"If you produced and sold $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017, or normally would have produced and sold that much, we need to hear from you," said Hamer. "If you're a landowner who leases your land to a producer, we need to hear from you. If you received a census but do not fit this definition of a farm, please write your status on the form and send it back."

Administrator Hubert Hamer noted that NASS has already begun to follow up with producers who have not yet completed the questionnaire.

The Census of Agriculture is the only comprehensive source of agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Census data are used by policymakers, trade associations, researchers, agribusinesses, educators, and many others. The information helps inform decisions on farm policy, rural development, and new farm technologies. It also aids in the creation and funding of loans and insurance programs and other forms of assistance, as well as in the cultivation of the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

The Census differs from other NASS surveys. It provides important demographic information and data on certain commodities, such as horses, bison, and Christmas trees, that would not otherwise be available. Revisions to the questionnaire in 2017 include new queries about military veteran status, decision-making on the farm, and food marketing practices.

Producers can respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture by mail or online  at www.agcounts.usda.gov



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