Census of Agriculture set for release

The USDA’s 2017 Ag Census will be released Thursday, after being delayed by the government shutdown earlier this year.

Mark Schleusener is with the department’s national ag statistic service in Illinois.

He says, “You can expect to see the most detailed and comprehensive picture of American agriculture. That’s what we do in the census of agriculture every five years.”

American Farm Bureau’s Veronica Nigh tells Brownfield the census gathers and releases data they don’t get at any other time.

“Things like distributions of farms by farm size, farms by concentration of market value of ag products sold, only do we find that information in the census.”

And, she says this is where she finds new trends and data markers to let Farm Bureau know what’s going on in agriculture.

Nigh says the Census of Ag data is the information she uses the most when examining tax policy. 

 “We want to get a broad-stroke idea of how different threshold levels and different programs might impact agriculture.”

Schleusener says there is a lot to sort through, considering the data for Illinois alone is the size of a Chicago phone book, but they have tried to simplify the process so viewers can find exactly what they need.

“We have a table built all about the cattle inventory, another one on poultry production, another one on swine, different ones for field crops and fruits and vegetables. So, for those individual commodities a lot of detail will be available for those who want it.”

Schleusener says there are new demographics in the 2017 census including data on farmers who are veterans, young and new farmers, and multiple operators on the farm.

He tells Brownfield the census would not be possible without the farmers who took time to answer questions.

Interview with Mark Schleusener

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