NSAC's Blog

Farmers: Make Sure You Are Counted, Participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture!

June 21, 2017

Amy Hicks, owner of Amy’s Organic Garden. Photo credit: USDA, Lance Cheung.

Are you a young farmer, beginning farmer, or a farmer who has never participated in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture before?

USDA is gearing up NOW for their 2017 Census of Agriculture, which will be sent out at the end of this year. If you have never filled out a census, it is important that you sign up to ensure you are counted in the next agricultural census. To receive the census survey next year you must sign up before June 30, 2017.

Organic farmers, farmers that sell directly to consumers, urban farmers, and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers are all typically under-counted in USDA’s census. By participating in this annual process you can ensure that your farm is counted, thereby strengthening the USDA programs and policies that farmers rely upon.

Census data helps to inform and improve programs because this information is used by USDA and by organizations like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to determine program use and levels of need. USDA uses census data to inform research, shape programs and outreach, track market trends, and provide general information about US farms. Legislators depend on the results of the census too, as this information gives them a snapshot of the current trends in agriculture and helps them to decide what programs and policies may need their attention. The Census of Agriculture is only conducted every five years, so the data that it generates will inform agricultural decision making for a considerable amount of time.

The form to request a census be sent to you takes less than a minute to fill out; you can request that the 2017 census be sent to you either in paper or in online form. If you are not on USDA’s list by June 30th, 2017, however, you will not be able to participate and help shape agricultural programs and policies. Sign up today!

Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, General Interest, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic

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