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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

The 2012 Census of Agriculture forms will be mailed to over three million U.S. agricultural producers during the last week of December. In Texas, about 375,000 census forms are being mailed out. The mailing includes all known farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers, plus a large number of potential agricultural producers.

The first Census of Agriculture was conducted in 1840 and is now conducted every five years. The census is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The census looks at land use and tenure, operator characteristics, production practices and economic information. The census serves as a very important “voice” for America’s farmers and ranchers.

The census provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Through the census, producers will show the value and importance of agriculture I their county and can help influence decisions that will shape the future of American agriculture.

Census data are used by all who serve farmers and rural communities; university research and Extension, state and local officials, agribusinesses, farm organizations, and commodity groups. Companies and cooperatives use the facts and figures to determine future locations of facilities; Community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents; and Legislators use census statistics when shaping farm policies and programs.

Other uses of the information gleamed for the census include: allocation of block grant dollars to states; allocation of funds for beginning farmer and conservation programs; help identify research priorities and allocate funds accordingly.

Everyone who receives a census form is required to return it, even if they no longer farm or have never been involved in agriculture. The Census of Agriculture has mandatory reporting authority, just like the population census due to the large amount of funds and other resources targeted and allocated based on census results.

Even small operations with a few cows or some hay production need to be counted. Individual information is guaranteed completely confidential by federal law.

There is a toll free phone number on the front of your census form if you have question. The number is 888.424.7828 and the call centers are open from 7 am to 9 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.


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