Last week the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service mailed surveys to 35,000 producers that use irrigation. The recipients are a sample of producers that have been identified by last year's Census of Agriculture. NASS Deputy Administrator Carol House says the survey, which is administered every five years as a supplement to the census, is vital as water resources become more important.
"This survey talks about irrigation, it talks about the use of water for irrigation, it talks about conservation practices on the use of that water and also how much it costs producers to irrigate crops," House says. "This gives the policymakers, the ag sector, it gives all of us exactly how much water is being used for irrigation in agriculture, which provides information for good policy development."
House says they are looking at what the irrigation practices are and because this survey has been done after every census, they can look at the changes in irrigation practices. In particular is a section dealing with conservation and reusing the same water in irrigation.
"We can look at that and see how those techniques have changed over time," House says. "All of which provides policymakers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers themselves an opportunity to see what is happening."
Survey recipients are required to return the surveys to NASS by Feb. 17, 2009. For more information about the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.