USDA urges farmers to complete surveys
The USDA is urging farmers to share information about their operations through a series of surveys.
Greg Bussler is a statistician with the National Ag Statistics Service in Wisconsin. He tells Brownfield the Census of Agriculture was mailed last year, and the February 6th due date for responses is quickly approaching. “We need farmers to complete the form as soon as possible. We try to make it as convenient as possible for them. We’re encouraging farmers to do it online, but if they don’t have Internet access or don’t feel comfortable about it, they can fill out the paper form.”
Bussler says the information provided by farmers helps shape farm programs. “Not only for policymakers at the national level, but a lot of state governments and local governments use census data when determining different policy needs, different infrastructure needs, and things like that.”
Bussler says the Census of Agriculture asks about the acres farmers operate, the structure of the farm business, basic demographic information about the farm operator, and questions about what crops and livestock were produced last year.
USDA statisticians also want to know how much hemp is grown and where it’s going. Bussler tells Brownfield the national Hemp Production and Disposition Survey is in its second year. “Basically, we ask farmers what their planted acreage was for hemp, harvested acreage, what their production is, and what the value of their production is, so it’s a fairly straightforward survey.”
Bussler says producers need to complete the survey soon, as the results will be published in mid-April.
USDA is also collecting information for its Agricultural Resource Management Survey. Bussler says this survey gets into more detail than the Census of Agriculture. “A lot of specifics on what a farmer’s expenses are, what their different income is, and things like that, and it’s kind of used to gauge the financial health of farming operations.”
Bussler says the surveys provide valuable information to policymakers, and that’s especially important going into a farm bill year.