Created on Thursday, 18 October 2012 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Farmers in Ohio soon will have the opportunity to help shape local agriculture policy by participating in the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
Conducted every five years by the National Agriculture Statistics Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the census is designed to be a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.
The census functions as the only source of comprehensive, uniform agriculture data for every county in the country, according to NASS.
The census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, productive practices, income and expenditures and other topics. The information is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities from all levels of government to agribusinesses and trade associations.
In 2007, Ohio farmers report a total of 75,861 farms, spanning nearly 14 million acres, a 2 percent decrease in the number of statewide farms from the previous 2002 census. Ohio’s total market value of agriculture products sold was $7.1 billion, an average of $93,200 per farm, according to NASS.
Forms will be mailed in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4, 2013. Producers can fill out the census online via a secure Web site, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.
Federal law requires that NASS keep all individual information confidential.