The Census of Agriculture, conducted by the USDA through the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), is one of the primary ways that the government gets an accurate picture of US farmers and ranchers and their operations. Collected every five years, the information is used to determine how best to provide services to food producers – whether it’s on planning funding allocations to regional programs or locating USDA staff and service centers. Your accurate response helps not only the government, but you and your agricultural community! The survey covers all sizes and types of agricultural businesses.
All personal information collected (your name, contact info, etc) is held strictly confidential. You can read the Census confidentiality pledge here. The aggregated data, however, showing trends in farming and areas of concentration, are made available. This information is used by private industry as well. Feel like you don’t have a lot of farm supply stores nearby? A lot of companies use census data in choosing where they place stores and facilities, so you can strengthen your home town by providing accurate data!
If you already got a form in the mail, make sure to fill it out before February 4th, the official deadline. (It’s not only a good idea, it’s actually required by law!) You can also fill the form out online, using the Census ID code written on the form you got in the mail. If you never got a form in the mail (not uncommon if you have a new operation or if contact information has changed), you can register online to be sent a form in the mail. Head to this NASS web form to sign up.