If you missed the February 4 mailing deadline for responding to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, it's late – but not too late. And you need to document your environmental stewardship in it, stresses Kevin Pautler, director of Pennsylvania's National Agricultural Statistics Service office.
"If you didn't respond, you'll receive a second copy in the mail," says Pautler. "It's extremely important that you do so.
"For the first time, the 2012 Census asks questions about the number of acres under conservation tillage practices, acres planted to cover crops and acres under conservation easements. This information will be critical in documenting the work farmers are doing collectively to be good stewards of the environment. "Through the Census, you can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture – environmentally and economically," he adds. "It's your opportunity to have your voice heard."
Participation in the Census is also required by federal law. And, that law also requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
Every farm is important and needs to be in the count. Whether you operate on two acres or 2,000 acres, your information is important to providing a true picture of U.S. agriculture today.
Decision makers and commodity groups at the local and state level use the Census of Agriculture to make decisions directly impact farmers, their businesses and their communities. "It helps everyone plan appropriately for tomorrow's needs," notes Pautler.
If you have a Census question or need help filling out your form, call 1-888-424-7828 or visit the website. NASS has helpful tips available and people standing by to provide assistance. Return your forms by mail or complete it online by visiting the secure website: www.agcensus.usda.gov.