In late December USDA will mail a Census of Agriculture form to millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is urging farmers who own and operate one of the 47,000 farms in the Commonwealth to participate in the survey.
This USDA Census of Agriculture counts all the farmers that can be located, generates a mailing list, and gathers information that can be used to benefit many diverse organizations and individuals in the agricultural industry, including businesses, government decision makers, market analysts, journalists, researchers and others.
An initial survey was sent in February 2012.
"This initial survey asks everyone who receives it to respond even if they are not farming," says Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Matthew J. Lohr. "This is how the USDA builds the most accurate and comprehensive mailing list to account for all of U.S. agriculture in the Census."
Commissioner Lohr and other federal and state agricultural leaders are using Public Service Announcements on video to remind producers to sign up before July 1 to take the USDA Census. The Virginia PSA is available on VDACS' website
"Local and national leaders use the Census to make decisions that directly impact your business, your community and your industry," says Lohr. "Whether you're farming four thousand acres or just four, it's important to be counted. Every voice counts."
VDACS notes there are about 2.1 million farms in the nation. Of those, approximately 120,000 generate about 75% of the total agricultural output. The remaining two million farms generate 25% of the output.
VDACS also points out that each farmer in America produces food, not only for himself and for his family, but for 155 additional people around the world.