The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years and the deadline for producers to turn the forms in was Feb. 4. However a large number of the census forms have not been returned according to National Agricultural Statistics Service Deputy Administrator Carol House. She says they're waiting for the rest of them and will give farmers until June 1 to turn them in.
"We are sending another form out there again with encouragement to fill it out," House says. "We'll give a little bit of time and then we're going to start calling people. Of course calling costs money, it's tax payer dollars, so hopefully producers out there will go ahead and fill it out before we have to make a phone call."
Responding to the census is required by law and the privacy of answers given is protected.
"If a producer is not filling it out because they have a question, they're not quite sure how to go about it, they're not sure whether they're required to fill it out or not, please call," House says. "We've received 130,000 calls since census forms were sent out."
A toll-free help line is available at (888) 424-7828. The census can also be submitted online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.