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Agriculture Census deadline approaching - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Agriculture Census deadline approaching

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Photo courtesty: MGN Online/USDA Photo courtesty: MGN Online/USDA

(PRESS RELEASE) Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., is urging Louisiana farmers and ranchers to participate the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Producers should respond online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail by February 5. The online questionnaire offers new timesaving features.

The Census of Agriculture is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) questionnaire mailed to every producer across the country and is conducted just once every five years. According to Strain, the Census provides a complete account of the industry, its changes, and emerging trends. Census data are widely used, often relied on when developing the Farm Bill and other farm policy, and when making decisions about disaster relief, community planning, technology development, and more.

“This information is necessary for the agriculture industry to be properly and accurately represented here in the state of Louisiana,” said Strain.  

Everyone who received the 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire is to return it, even if they are not currently farming. The first few qualifying questions on the form will determine whether completing the entire questionnaire is necessary. After the February 5 deadline, NASS will begin following-up with additional mailings, e-mails, phone calls, and personal appointments. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers and ranchers are asked to complete their Census as soon as possible.

“We are asking producers to help show our nation the value and importance of American agriculture,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We need to hear from all of our farmers and ranchers, no matter how big or how small their part of agriculture. The Census is their voice, their future, their opportunity. Please respond now.”  

The Census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Producers are required by law to respond; NASS is required by the same federal law to keep all information confidential, use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov. For questions or assistance with the Census, call toll-free (888) 424-7828.

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