WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Ag Census Deadline Nears

May 15, 2013

The deadline for the USDA’s Ag census is at the end of the month. It's conducted every 5 years and collects information on land prices and ownership as well as agricultural practices.

USDA's Ag Census closes May 31st.
Credit Rich Egger

It was supposed to end at the beginning of February but not enough farmers responded.

Western Illinois University Agriculture professor, Dr. Joel Gruver, said the data shapes national farm policy. He said some farmers either do not feel comfortable filling out the census or may think that it’s not worth their time.

WIU Sustainable Ag professor Joel Gruver.

"So one of the main concerns that farmers tell me is well, it's going to take time to fill this out. I'm not going to do something that I don't get paid to do. Well you are getting paid to do it. If you have ever received any government payments you've been paid to fill out the census," Gruver said.

Gruver said some farmers feel they may be giving away too much information on their specific farm practices.

He said that even if they aren’t comfortable answering the whole survey they should do the parts they do feel comfortable with.

The USDA”s statistical service,  NASS,  says the census  is the government’s  only source for to find out how many farmers there are in the US and private agriculture companies use the data for market research.