CENSUS COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR ALABAMA’S FARMERS AND RANCHERS
Farmers and ranchers in Alabama will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities by taking part in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.
NASS will mail out Census forms in late December, to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4.
“The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation,” said Bill Weaver, Director for the Alabama field office. “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 looks at 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,” Weaver said. “So do your part and be counted when you receive your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the Census can reveal.”
In 2007, Alabama farmers reported almost 49,000 farms spanning more than 9,000,000 acres with $4.42 billion in market value of products sold. This important information and thousands of other statistics at the state and county level are only available every five years as a result of farmer responses to the Census.
Producers can fill out the Census online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov. The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).