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January 17th, 2013
Ag Census Demonstrates Value of Agriculture

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Today, farmers and ranchers have less than three weeks to return their Census of Agriculture – and at USDA, we hope that everyone who can get their response back to us as soon as possible.

Currently underway by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census collects detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It’s the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation, and this year’s Census will provide USDA current information as we work to support American agriculture and build up the rural economy.

Accurate statistical data regarding our rural areas is important as we work hard at USDA to design effective programs and deliver quality service, even as we work to streamline operations and reduce our budget footprint.

But for me, the Census goes well beyond numbers on a page. The Census data represent a critically important picture of American agriculture and rural America. This could not be more important today, in a time when just 16 percent of Americans live in our small towns and rural communities. The fact is, it’s more important than ever to tell the story of a rural America that makes and creates amazing things.

The importance and value of data from the Census of Agriculture goes beyond our nation’s farm fields, ranches, and rural communities – it tells the story of American agriculture for the 98 percent of Americans who don’t live on the farm and more than 80 percent of our citizens who aren’t in rural areas.  Data from the Census of Agriculture is used by policymakers and programs that have a coast-to-coast impact, affecting everything from health care, to business and trade, to manufacturing, to natural resources and conservation.

At a time when fewer farmers are producing the food, fuel, and fiber needed for a growing world, I remind producers to complete and return your Census. You can play an important role in showing our nation the value and importance of agriculture.

For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov

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