U.S. farm census coming this week

Delaware farmers will soon have a chance to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The national survey of farms and ranches is conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The census will be mailed out this week.

The federal government uses the data to shape farm policy, while industry and trade groups use it for planning efforts.

“Good policies and services are rooted in quality data. We want all farms counted because there’s strength in numbers that only the census can reveal,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.

This year’s census has been revised to make it easier for respondents. It will also collect new data on active service and veteran farmers, in addition to expanding questions on food marketing practices and on-farm decision-making.

The last completed census, in 2012, reported 2,451 farms across 508 acres. The market value of agricultural products in the state was $1.3 billion.

The deadline is February 5, 2018. The results will be released in 2019.

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