Make your voice heard back

Mar 1, 2013
by WLJ

Ag states throughout the nation, but especially across the Midwest, have been tagged “fly over states.” Nationwide, people often consider this area someplace to cross as fast as possible, and many of us don’t think we have much in common with the states on the coasts either. Ag states do, however, have a huge impact on the economy and food production worldwide. Now is your chance to voice your opinions and to influence policy design.

In late December, the USDA mailed out the 2012 Census of Agriculture. This is agriculture’s chance to tell our story. The Census is a complete count of America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

Results from the Census will impact future agriculture planning and decision making. Those results will influence farm programs, transportation and marketing locations, telecommunications connectivity, rural economic development, production practices, new agricultural technologies, and conservation programs.

So who should fill out the Census?

Everyone who is eligible! The Census of Ag defines a farm as any place that produced and sold, or would have normally sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during 2012. Even if you are retired, but own ground in CRP or other conservation programs, you qualify to fill out the Census. Conversely, if you do not own ground but operate a farm or ranch operation, you qualify to complete the Census.

To make your voice heard, complete the questionnaire and mail it back or complete the survey online at the NASS Online Survey Response website. — Heather Gessner, South Dakota State University