December 28, 2007
America's farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make their voices
heard and help shape the future of agriculture for years to come.
opportunity will come in your mailbox in the form of the 2007 Census of
Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census is a complete count
of the nation's farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The census
looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices,
income and expenditures and other topics. It provides the only source of
uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation.
Policy makers factor census data into decisions concerning agricultural
and rural program. Community planners use the census to target needed services
to rural residents. Companies rely on census data when determining where to
locate their operations. Farmers themselves can use census data to help make
critical decisions about their businesses.
"The American Sheep Industry
Association (ASI) also utilizes this data as it prepares briefs and comments
about the industry," commended Peter Orwick, executive director for ASI. "As we
answer questions from the media, members of Congress and state and federal
agencies, the census is the main source of information that we rely on, so I
encourage all operations, regardless of size, to respond."
mail out census forms today, Dec. 28, 2007, to collect data for the 2007
calendar year. Completed forms are due back by Feb. 4, 2008. Producers can
return their forms by mail or, for the first time, they have the convenient
option of filling out the census online via a secure Web site at www.agcensus.usda.gov
Census of Agriculture is the voice of all farmers and ranchers.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33