South Carolina's Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers encourages all those that receive the 2012 Census of Agriculture forms in the mail to fill them out as completely and honestly as possible. This census is only once every five years, and the information and data collected help show the value of agriculture and how important it is to every person, not just those in agriculture.
Weathers explains that the responses help with future agricultural planning for a given area or state, and with the SCDA and Commerce Department working to land more agribusiness related companies in South Carolina or to expand one's already in existence.
There are three ways to respond to this year's census, online, postal mail or hand-delivered to your local FSA office.
“The census is as thorough a count of everything about agriculture, that’s why it’s only done every five years. It’s not like the regular surveys, but it talks about the impact on our economy, our population and a lot of things that impact how and where resources flow to agriculture is based on this census. So it’s very important that our farmers recognize that participate. There is a little over a month to get it done.
By filling out the forms and getting them back in a timely manner they are actually helping out everyone in SC. A lot of times the allocation of resources are based on census numbers so its more than just talking about the agricultural economy, its making our case for how the resources that are coming out can be spoken for by SC. The census is a way to do that.
Because of its importance, we have tried to make it easier to complete. You can fill it out online, www.agriculture.sc.gov and look for the census link. There is also the paper form that you can either put in the mail or hand carry to your local FSA office.
Anyone who has agricultural sales of $1000 or more is counted as a farmer. That usually includes most hobby farmers.”