USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is working hard to get all surveys of the 2007 Census of Agriculture submitted. Although they were due in February, according to NASS acting-Administrator Joe Reilly many have not been returned and agency is beginning intensive follow-up.
"Up until this point we've allowed the mail to do the work," Reilly says. "We've sent out three forms to everybody; haven't heard from them yet and now we're going to start calling them and for many of the producers out there we'll send an enumerator out to start knocking on the door and seeing if we can get the information."
The goal is to have data collection done in June so statisticians will have time to tabulate results for the census release in February. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer recently encouraged producers to turn in their census surveys.
"We need to hear from everyone, no matter how big or small their operation is, and no matter what they farm, where they farm or how they farm," Schafer says. "As we say, it's your voice, your future and your responsibility."
Whether or not they are actively engaged in agricultural activity, everyone who received a Census of Agriculture form is required by law to respond. Forms can be returned by mail or submitted online. For more information, or for assistance with completing the 2007 Census of Agriculture, call toll-free (888) 424-7828 or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.