Commissioner Troxler: Census of Ag Deadline Extended

Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts a Census of Agriculture to capture a comprehensive snapshot of where agriculture is at that particular moment in time. By collecting information from farmers and ranchers, it helps with setting ag policy as well as future planning. The original deadline for the Census information to be submitted was February. It has now been extended through Spring, in hopes of collecting more data to improve the accuracy of information at the state and county levels. Currently, North Carolina’s return rate is 40 percent out of 71,000 Census questionnaires. It is important that farmers and ranchers respond to make sure their farms and farming interests are counted.

  • This week I want to remind farmers and ranchers to fill out their Census of Agriculture information if they haven’t already done so. If you have completed yours, thank you for doing that, but if you have not, the deadline for submitting information has been extended to the Spring.
  • As a farmer, I know how easy it is to put something on the back burner and unintentionally overlook it. If that has happened to you, it’s not too late to be counted in the Census of Agriculture, and it is important that we hear from you.
  • Currently of 71,000 questionnaires mailed to farmers, we have heard back from about 40 percent of them. The more information that is able to be collected, the better the strength and accuracy of what the overall industry, specific sectors of the industry and county pictures of agriculture look like.
  • We need farmers and ranchers to fill out their questionnaire or go online and enter their information so USDA has the broadest and most accurate base of information to work with.
  • I talked with listeners about the Census of Agriculture near the end of 2017, and stressed the importance of the data in setting farm policy, something that is important to every single farmer in this state and in the United States.
  • The census information is used by policy makers at the local, state and federal levels, and by researchers, agribusinesses, trade associations and farmers in helping make informed decisions with verifiable data.
  • Responses aid in the funding and development of farm programs and the boosting of support services such as disaster relief and insurance.
  • And these numbers do help guide ag policy, particularly when it points to specific issues that may need to be addressed.
  • The Census is conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it provides a comprehensive snapshot of U.S. agriculture as well as state numbers.
  • We know that agriculture is a dynamic and evolving industry, so a lot can change in five years.
  • It is important to note that each person’s information is confidential and will only be shared in an aggregate form. On the larger federal scale, an operation’s information will be added to other like farm operations to gauge production on a nationwide level. Individual farm statistics would not be made available in state listings if the release of that information would identify an individual operator.
  • You can access and fill out the census online at www.usda.gov. The forms have been streamlined so the process is much easier and shorter.
  • If you have questions, about the census call 1-888-424-7828.
  • By completing your Census, you are ensuring your voice is being added to the conversation about the state of agriculture nationally and locally.