Though 1.4 million Census forms have already been returned, the USDA announced Thursday it would still accept Census forms from farmers that had missed the Feb. 4 deadline.
Farmers and ranchers who did not respond by the original due date will receive another copy of the form in the mail.
"Information from the Census of Agriculture helps USDA monitor trends and better understand the needs in agriculture," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Providing industry stakeholders, community leaders, lawmakers and individual farm operators with the most comprehensive and accurate U.S. agricultural reports, we all help ensure the tools are available to make informed, sound decisions to protect the future of American agriculture."
Conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business.
"Accurate and comprehensive information from all farmers and ranchers is important so that the Census can provide a true picture of U.S. agriculture today and help everyone plan appropriately for future," Vilsack said. "This level of information is only gathered and released once every five years, so we need the participation of every producer to ensure the agricultural industry and rural America receive the representation that will provide them with the most benefit and value."
Farmers and ranchers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.