Tis’ the season when mailboxes and front porches are overflowing with holiday cards and wrapped packages. Through all the hustle and bustle, farmers should also look for their 2017 Census of Agriculture form, set to arrive in the mail this December. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Sheila Harsdorf encourages farmers to complete and return their Census this winter.
“I know how busy you are with fall harvest and farm chores, but I promise you that filling in your Census is time well-spent,” said Harsdorf. “As a legislator, I saw how valuable census data was when making policy decisions. I know as Secretary, we here at DATCP will use the census information often when working with government officials, agribusinesses and industry partners.”
The Census of Agriculture is a complete count, taken every five years, of America’s farms, ranches and the people who operate them. About 84% of Wisconsin farmers completed the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which was one of the highest response rates in the country. Wisconsin State Statistician Greg Bussler hopes that we can exceed that number this year.
“The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation,” explained Bussler. “The more farmers who complete the census, the more accurate the information we’ll have available for decision makers to rely on.”
Data on land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, expenditures and more is captured. Information provided in the Census of Agriculture will be kept confidential, and results will be available in aggregate form only.
Farms of all sizes, whether in rural or urban areas, should be counted. A farm is any place from which at least $1,000 of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during 2017.