U.S. farmers will begin receiving their questionnaires for the 2017 Census of Agriculture in eight weeks, the National Agricultural Statistics Service announced on Sept. 25.
The deadline to respond is Feb. 5, 2018. Producers can complete the census questionnaire on paper or online. In October, NASS will make a census preparation checklist available at agcensus.usda.gov to help producers gather necessary information in advance.
“The updated online questionnaire is very user-friendly—it can now be used on any electronic device and can be saved and revisited as the producer’s schedule allows,” said NASS Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater. “Responding online saves time and protects data quality.”
Revisions and additions to the 2017 census aim to capture a more detailed account of the industry. Producers will see a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers and others involved in running the business.
Conducted once every five years, the Census of Agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Farmers and ranchers, trade associations, government, educators, researchers and others rely on census data when making decisions that shape American agriculture.
Response to the census of agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any producer.