USDA's Census for Agriculture collects critical information about the business of growing food. And there's a supplement survey that looks at irrigation issues. That 2013 Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey is underway and the deadline is Feb. 10, 2014.
The survey, which in past years has included a wide range of information about irrigation practices, timing and other issues, is sent to farms, ranches and horticulture operations to get information. The survey looks at water sources, amount of water used, acres irrigated by type of system, yield and other issues.
It's an in-depth view of how irrigation practices are changing and is conduced once every five years, just like the Ag Census. USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service will survey a sample of all farmers who indicated on their 2012 census form that they use irrigation in their operation.
Farmers who filled out their Ag Census survey saw irrigation questions, but USDA notes in a Q&A briefing on its website that this is just preliminary information. The 2013 survey is specific to irrigation and "will allow NASS to publish more comphrensive information on this important practice."
If you've received the survey USDA reminds farmers that since this survey is part of the 2012 Census of Agriculture, U.S. law requires all those who receive the survey to respond.
The agency notes that all individual information is kept confidential, by law. The reports from the survey are tabulated totals that don't share individual information. You can learn more by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/Irrigation_Survey