SACRAMENTO - Farmers and ranchers throughout California are being urged to complete and return their agriculture census forms as soon as possible.
Census forms were mailed out in December and early February by the United States Department of Agriculture, with the third and final group of mailings scheduled for March 27-31.
“California agriculture has a major stake in this census,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “Each and every response is significant because it helps with the development of future programs. We encourage the return of completed forms as soon as possible.”
An accurate report of the farm operations in every state and county will help put together a complete and detailed picture of the nation’s agriculture. In fact, everyone receiving a report form is required by law to file a report. A series of U.S. agriculture census reports dating back to 1840 has been a valuable resource to farmers, farm organizations, agribusiness, farm media, and county, state, and federal governments.
Census data are used to:
· examine long-term trends and anticipate the future direction of agriculture;
· allocate local and national funds for farm programs;
· help agribusiness develop sales territories and marketing plans for farm input, processing, storage, transportation, and equipment;
· help state and federal government agencies evaluate effects of changes in farm legislation;
· assess patterns in water use and irrigation to determine resource and management needs; and
· allocate cooperative extension funding, services, and research at the local level.
Anyone needing help completing report forms may call 1-888-4AG-STAT.
Results from the 2002 Census of Agriculture will be published on February 3, 2004. Information will be available at www.usda.gov/nass/, through local National Agricultural Statistics Service state offices, at public libraries, and at land grant universities. Individual reports are held strictly confidential.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814