This year was a pretty tumultuous one for many dairy producers across the country, especially with the way the drought impacted many operations. The USDA needs to get more information so it knows what’s happening on America’s farms. That’s why the 2012 Census of Agriculture forms will be hitting producers’ mailboxes very soon.
“The Census of Agriculture will be dropped in the mail December 14th, so farmers should expect it in their mailboxes by the end of the year,” says Renee Picanso, Director of the USDA’s Census and Survey Division, asking that those surveyed return their census by Feb. 4, 2013. During an interview at Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention, she added that they’ll be asking some new questions this year, including some on agriforestry and renewable energy. Also new this year will be the opportunity to fill out the survey over the internet, something they believe will help response rates. “I hope so, because it leads you through the questions, and if you go on the internet, it will skip through the questions [not relevant to your operation].”
Picanso stresses that it’s very important for producers to respond because the survey helps USDA determine policy, as well as how it helps rural communities and agribusinesses. Results should be released in February 2014.
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Renee here: Interview with Renee Picanso, Director of the USDA's Census and Survey Division