The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is alerting farmers and ranchers of their final chance to be counted in the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
"We've received more than 1.8 million completed census forms, and we want to recognize the dedication and effort of the many farmers, ranchers and growers who have responded," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I urge those who have not yet responded to seize this opportunity."
The census is conducted only once every five years and is the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The information is used by town planners, policy makers, agribusinesses and others to help make important growth-generating decisions.
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will begin mailing a final copy of the census to producers who have not yet responded. NASS is committed to ensuring that every farm and ranch operation in the United States is counted. Therefore, NASS representatives will make follow-up telephone calls and personal visits throughout the spring to those who have not responded.
Farmers and ranchers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website at www.agcensus.usda.gov.