The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging farmers and ranchers across the country to complete the 2012 Census of Agriculture before the deadline comes on May 31.
The census is completed once every five years and is used by agribusinesses, local governments, policy makers and producers to shape farm programs, boost rural services and grow farming.
According to the USDA, more than 2 million census forms have already been completed. However, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging all farmers to participate in the census. He said, "For every 158 people in America there is one farm. I urge you to take action today and respond to the Census – your country is counting on the information to help ensure a continued supply of food, fiber and fuel for generations to come."
As the deadline nears, producers may begin to be contacted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service to collect census information.
Farmers and ranchers can also return their forms by mail or by going to www.agcensus.usda.gov.