Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging North Carolina farmers to “speak up” for their livelihood by taking part in the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the census is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and the people who operate them.
“The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in North Carolina,” Troxler said. “It’s a chance for farmers to speak up and have some influence on decisions that shape their farms, communities and the industry.”
The census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. This information is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities, from federal, state and local governments to agribusinesses and trade associations. Legislators use the data when shaping farm policy, and agribusinesses factor it into their planning efforts.
“By taking part in the census, farmers can help tell the story of agriculture’s importance to North Carolina and its economy,” Troxler said. “It’s a story policy makers need to hear.”
NASS will mail out census forms this month to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4. Farmers can fill out the census online using a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.
Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.