Being counted in the Census of Agriculture is an opportunity that comes along only once every five years. In 2007, 80 percent of Massachusetts farmers and ranchers responded to the Census of Agriculture to ensure their voices were heard. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is challenging Massachusetts’s agricultural community to come together and surpass this response rate for the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
There’s strength in numbers and only those producers who respond to the Census can ensure that the numbers gathered help shape farm programs, boost rural services and grow the future of farming in Massachusetts. For example, published Census data is used by dozens of USDA programs that benefit farmers and ranchers in the state, including the Direct Loan Program, Guaranteed Loan Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Commodity Outlook Program, Commodity Market Analysis, Extension funding and more.
NASS has already received over 60 percent completed Census forms at the national level. The dedication and effort of the many farmers and ranchers who have responded is sincerely appreciated. For those who have not yet completed their form, there is good news – there is still time to be counted.
A second copy of the Census was recently mailed to those who have not yet responded. If you receive a Census form, please complete it as soon as possible. NASS will also begin telephone follow-up and personal visits to help collect responses. NASS is committed to ensuring that every farm and ranch in Massachusetts is counted to provide the most comprehensive data available for the future of the state’s agricultural industry and rural communities.
Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).
Remember, with the Census of Agriculture there’s strength in numbers. Help show how strong Massachusetts agriculture is by responding now.
Gary R. Keough, State Statistician
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
New England Field Office
53 Pleasant St. Rm 2100
Concord, NH 03301
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