The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is
reminding Nebraska farmers and ranchers that the window is closing on the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. To date, NASS has received more than 1.5 million completed questionnaires, but both the national and Nebraska return rates are currently lower than at this point in the 2012 Census process. NASS is encouraging Nebraska producers who have not returned their completed Census questionnaires to do so as soon as possible to avoid phone and in-person follow-up.
“NASS is grateful for the response from producers to date, but it is important that the others who received a Census questionnaire join their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family in being part of the = Census count,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer.
“We sent the questionnaire to many potential farmers and ranchers who may not be familiar with it. The
follow-up will give them and other producers the opportunity to ask questions,” said Hamer. “Some farmers and ranchers were waiting until they gathered their tax documents before completing the Census; having that information handy will certainly make filling out the questionnaire faster and easier.”
The Census differs from other NASS surveys. It provides important demographic information and data on certain commodities, such as horses, bison, and Christmas trees; that would not otherwise be available. Changes to the questionnaire in 2017 include new questions about military veteran status, decision-making on the farm, and food marketing practices.
“Nebraska producers need to complete and return their Census of Agriculture so policymakers will have accurate data to enact legislation when appropriating government dollars to agriculture” said Dean Groskurth, Director of the Northern Plains Regional Field Office. “Many counties and towns use results from the Census of Agriculture when making decisions about local programs and infrastructure.
Completing the Ag Census may be your only way of being heard.”
NASS will release Census results in February 2019. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture or for assistance with the questionnaire, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call toll-free