KC Sheperd, Farm Director, caught up with the director of NASS’s National Operations Division in St. Louis, Joe Prusacki, and talked about why it is important for ag producers to take time to complete the 2022 Census of Agriculture.
The 2022 Census of Agriculture will be mailed in phases, starting with an invitation to respond online during the month of November, followed by paper questionnaires in December. Farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2022 are included in the ag census.
“The census of ag is conducted every five years, the years ending with a two or a seven,” Prusacki said. “We are going to be mailing out about 2.6 million pieces of stuff starting on the 22nd of November.”
The Census of Agriculture, Prusacki said, is the only instrument that allows USDA NASS to develop a total picture at the county level. Some of the questions asked in the census, Prusacki said, include acres operated, livestock, operating arrangements, expenditures, broadband and more.
By gathering data such as the demographics of a certain area, Prusacki said the census is a valuable asset to many different entities. An example Prusacki talked about is that a machinery company may target an area with a multitude of smaller farming and ranching operations and sell equipment best fit for those places in that area.
The census also impacts the farm bill, Prusacki said.
“Every five years, we see less and less enthusiasm for the census of agriculture,” Prusacki said. “We may get to the point where we have no information.
Prusacki highlighted that filling out the census only helps to create more benefits for those working in agriculture. The Census of Agriculture tells the story and shows the value of U.S. agriculture. It highlights land use and ownership, producer characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures, among other topics.
The due date for filled-out censuses, Prusacki said, is February 4, 2022.