DOVER – Delaware farmers are encouraged to complete the Census of Agriculture by the recently extended deadline of March 15, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said Tuesday.
“The Census is a valuable tool for farmers, agribusinesses and policymakers, and it is vital that farmers complete and return their forms,” Secretary Kee said. “I thank those who have already completed their forms, and urge all others to do the same. We need the critical information the Census gathers to tell the story of agriculture’s contributions and successes.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is still accepting completed forms, and will soon re-send forms to agricultural producers who did not complete the Census by the initial Feb. 4 deadline. Census respondents who did not have any agricultural activity in 2012 should state so on the front of the form and return it.
The Census is completed every five years. Data from the 2012 Census will be released in early 2014, and can be analyzed on the state, county or zip code level.
The Census gathers information on farm operators, demographics, production practices, income, expenditures, land use and other topics. Policymakers, legislators and agribusiness vendors use the local data to serve farmers and rural communities, while farmers use the state and national data to improve marketing of their products. In the 2007 Census, 2,546 Delaware farmers reported $1.1 billion in sales.
The Census is also the source for such information as the number of acres planted to cover crops, acres under conservation tillage and agricultural easements, and the number of people living on farms. The Census defines farms as operations that produced or sold, or had the potential to sell, at least $1,000 in agricultural products during 2012. Participation in the Census is required by law.
Census responses are confidential, and used only for data collection. Information about individual farms is not released. Any questions regarding the Census can be answered by calling the NASS Delaware office at 302-698-4537 or 800-282-8685.
Farmers can get more information and complete the Census online at a secure web site, http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/index.php.
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