The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service has begun gathering data for the 2009 Census of Horticultural Specialties to measure the state of the horticulture industry. The census forms are being mailed to nearly 33,000 producers nationwide, including producers of floriculture, nursery, and other specialty crops, such as sod, and crops produced in greenhouses or other protection. Recipients are required to complete and return their forms by February 5, 2010.
Conducted once every ten years, the Census of Horticultural Specialties provides the only comprehensive, detailed data on U.S. floriculture, nursery and specialty crop operations. Respondents are guaranteed by law that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals.
"This census will help us understand the effects of the economic downturn on this sector," said NASS Deputy Administrator Carol House. "The census will collect information on the number and types of establishments, value of sales, varieties of products produced and many other areas. The census supplies vital information that all levels of government and industry use to develop improved technologies, practices and programs that impact growers and their communities."