Farmers urged to participate in ag census
Published 2:21 am Saturday, June 24, 2017
Farmers and ranchers in Louisiana will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.
“The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation,” said Eugene Young, NASS Delta Regional Director. “It’s a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry, and operation.”
The Census highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, 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. For example, legislators use the data when shaping farm policy and agribusinesses factor it into their planning efforts.
“Your answers to the Census impact farm programs and rural services that support your community,” Young said. “So please be counted by completing your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the Census can reveal.”
In 2012, Louisiana farmers reported a total of 28,093 farms, spanning 7,900,864 acres. This showed a 7-percent decrease in the number of Louisiana farms from the previous Census in 2007. Louisiana ranked No. 2 in sugarcane production in the United States. This telling information and thousands of additional farm and ranch statistics are only available every five years, as a direct result of responses to the Census.
Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census in 2012 still have time to sign up to be counted in this critical effort at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).