If you haven’t already turned in your 2017 Census of Agriculture forms, you probably recently received a reminder in the mail. In less than a week — Monday, Feb. 5, to be exact — producers will be expected to respond online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. No matter how you feel about it, if you’re a producer, it’s the law.
There are perks to the Census, since lawmakers say they use this data to help shape our national agricultural policy. It is also used when considering disaster relief, community planning, technology development, and more. However, on these five-year cycles, you’re expected to give out information about your operation that would normally remain private — not to mention that this takes time to complete. The data is kept by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
So what if you don’t fill out the form? Expect the NASS to follow up with additional mailings, e-mails, phone calls, and personal appointments.