The Census of Agriculture makes a producer’s voice heard.

Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census of Agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches, and those who operate them. According to the USDA, this census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation.

The most recent Census of Agriculture forms were collected from November 2017 through February 2018. Producers were given the option of mailing in a completed census form or responding online via an improved web questionnaire. Along with questions asked in the past, the 2017 Census of Agriculture asked new questions related to military veteran status, food marketing practices, and on-farm decision-making. The hope with this census is to better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers, and others involved in running the business. All data collected will be available to the public in February 2019.

This data is important because farmers and ranchers, trade associations, government, extension educators, researchers, and many others rely on the Census of Agriculture when making decisions that shape America’s agriculture industry. For example, Census of Agriculture data is used to determine funding for farm programs, and it helps boost services for communities and the industry. The many uses for and significance of the data collected by the census is why responding is required by law. If you haven’t yet completed your census, there is still time.

In short, participating in the census is an opportunity for the nation’s ag industry to tell their stories and show their worth, and it gives farmers and ranchers the chance to put the value of agriculture into concrete numbers and statistics for all to see.