Questionnaires sent in to Vermont farmers and over 3 million U.S. producers
Every five years brings an important event for Vermont farmers and the agricultural community across the country. Delivered to mailboxes in Vermont in December was the start of the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The census results are then used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers, and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development, and more.
As you read this, the deadline for completing the census form is fast approaching. February 5th of 2018 is the last day allowed for submitting the census form. You can fill out the census online by visiting https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cawi. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law and requires NASS to keep all identities and information confidential, and to use the data only for statistical purposes. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019.
Who should participate in the census?
Any farm operation that produced and sold $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017. With your participation, the census becomes the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agricultural data for every state and county in the nation.
What’s in it for you?
“The Census is an important tool in our efforts to support every farmer in Vermont,” Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts said. “It is one of the resources we use to understand the needs of the smallest producer right up to the largest farms, and how they each fit and interact with the broader agriculture picture in the United States. I encourage all farmers and producers in the state to share your story through the census.”
The 2017 Census of Agriculture is also used to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes to the census questions from 2012 include a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision making to help better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers, and others involved in running a farm enterprise.
If you need assistance with accessing the census, or questions about the census itself, please call the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at 802-782-3388 or send an email to Sylvia Jensen at Sylvia.Jensen@vermont.gov.