Data collected from ag census can help shape industry’s future

Farm and Food

The deadline is quickly approaching for farmers and ranchers to fill out the 2022 Census of Agriculture.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts the census to capture information on our nation’s farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. This year, Feb. 6 is the deadline for forms to be returned or submitted online at Paper versions were sent out via mail in December.

To paint a full picture of agriculture across the country, operations large and small are asked to take part. Farmers and ranchers in both rural and urban areas should participate, so long as their operations make $1,000 or more in revenue per year.

Through their participation, producers provide information on their land use and ownership, production practices, income, expenditures, and their demographics. All personal data collected is kept confidential.

Results of the census, which will be released in 2024, not only help NASS maintain an up-to-date understanding of the agricultural industry, but also give producers a voice in the Department of Agriculture’s programs and decision-making. Additionally, groups such as the Center for Rural Affairs use the results in analysis, studies, and to encourage decision-makers to support key programs. This information impacts conservation, crop insurance, value-added products, marketing, and more.

On average, completion of the census takes 20 to 30 minutes, but the results have the potential to shape the industry for years to come. We encourage producers to fill out their census by Feb. 6.