Goehring urges taking part in 2012 Census of Agriculture

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is urging North Dakota farmers and ranchers to participate in the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

“This is a major opportunity for farmers and ranchers to influence the decisions that will shape the future of their operations, their communities and the entire agricultural industry,” Goehring said. “Information gathered in the census impacts farm programs and rural services that support our communities

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is mailing out census forms in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4, 2013. Producers can fill out the census online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.

“The census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation,” said Renee Picanso, director of NASS's Census and Survey Division.

Conducted every five years, the Census of Agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. It examines land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics.

“This information is used by federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and others who serve farmers and rural communities,” Goehring said. “It is especially important in North Dakota, where agriculture is the largest segment of our economy.”

Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census of Agriculture and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

More information is available at www.agcensus.usda.gov.