Hi, I’m Pat O’Leary with USDA’s Office of
Communications, and I’m here with Adam Cline from the USDA National
Agricultural Statistics Service. Adam is the Census and Survey Division Section
Head and he’s going to highlight some information about the Census of
Agriculture and the upcoming once every five year census data release on April
11th. Adam we’ve been hearing a lot about the
Census of Agriculture pretty regularly over the last couple of years.
What should everyone know about the census of Agriculture? Well thanks for
having me, Pat. I always appreciate the opportunity to speak about the Census.
The census actually has a pretty long interesting history going back to 1840
when the first census was conducted. It was conducted in conjunction with the
decennial census from 1840 until about 1920. After 1920 the Census of
Agriculture broke off from the decennial census and was conducted every four or
five years. In 1982 we began the every five-year cycle we’re on now, which is
years ending in two and seven. The Census of Agriculture allows us to
collect more detailed information on certain aspects of the agriculture
industries, such as aquaculture and organic and horticulture. We do this with
a series of special studies. These are surveys conducted in between years of
the five-year census of Agriculture. Adam, where will this data live?Where will we
find it all? The Census of Agriculture data, including 2017 and the historical
years is all available on our website at www.nass.usda.gov. Beyond being sent to every farmer and
rancher in the country, what makes the Census of Agriculture different from
other NASS surveys? Well the Census of Agriculture allows us to provide data
for every county in the nation. It also gives us a glimpse into the
demographic makeup of American agriculture and the people that are
involved. And it also gives us data on specialty crops and livestock that our
annual programs do not collect, such as ginseng and alpacas. And what do we know about how the data are used? The Census of Agriculture data will be used by all those who serve
farmers in the US; businesses use the data to target certain locations for
their abilities that will best serve the
farmer; local governments use the data to target programs and services for its
communities; Congress uses the data to help shape farm policy and programs; and finally the farmers and ranchers themselves use the data help make better
decisions on their own operations. Will NASS publish all the data you received?
No, unfortunately we’re not able to publish all data. Any item that could
potentially identify an individual producer will be suppressed or hidden
and noted with a D in the publication. Adam, what was the National response rate to the census this time? Well first I’d like to take the opportunity to thank
the American farmers and ranchers that took the time to respond to the 2017
Census of Agriculture. We had a good response rate of about 72% and even
though we do try, we do not expect a response from everyone. Like other
statistical agencies we do have methodology in place to account for a
certain level of non-response and this allows us to continue to provide
accurate data. We’re coming up on the April 11th data release date. What’s next
and when does the census cycle start all over again?
So as far as the 2017 Census of Agriculture is concerned, yes we’ll release the national,
state and county level data on April 11th. But throughout the year we’ll
continue to release data products from the 2017 census and these include state
and county profiles as well as race, ethnicity and gender profiles. Currently
we are conducting the Puerto Rico census of Agriculture so we’re collecting data
there now and in the next few weeks we will begin collecting data, and there are
other outlying areas such as Guam and the US Virgin Islands. We’re also
currently conducting the first two special studies – these are the 2018
census of aquaculture and the 2018 irrigation and water management survey.
Meanwhile we are planning for the next census which is the 2022 Census of
Agriculture. We currently have an area designated on our website for the
public to offer comments and suggestions on questionnaire content, and we also
have an area for farmers to sign up to be counted. Our goal is to continue to
provide comprehensive and useful data to the American public. You barely have time to catch your breath when the census ends, you start all over again. Well we’d like to thank Adam Cline from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Thank you, Adam for joining us today. Thank you, Pat. And next time we’ll visit with Ginger Harris with NASS in Kentucky to talk about what’s
new in the Census of Agriculture. Thanks for joining us, we’ll see you then.