Surveys are now arriving in mailboxes around the nation to help identify all active farms in the United States. The National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS), which asks landowners whether or not they are farming and for basic farm information, is one of the most important early steps used to determine who should receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture report form.  The Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

“We are asking everyone who receives the NACS to respond even if they are not farming so that we build the most accurate and comprehensive mailing list to account for all of U.S. agriculture in the Census,” says NASS’s Census and Survey Director Renee Picanso. “The Census is the leading source of facts about American agriculture and the only source of agricultural statistics that is comparable for each county in the nation. Farm organizations, businesses, government decision-makers, commodity market analysts, news media, researchers and others use Census data to inform their work.”

NACS is required by law as part of the U.S. Census of Agriculture.  By this same law, all information reported by individuals is kept confidential. NASS will mail the 2012 Census of Agriculture later this year and data will be collected into early 2013.

“The NACS survey is the first step in getting a complete count, so we ask everyone who receives a survey to complete and return it,” says Picanso. “The Census is a valuable way for producers and rural America to show their strength – in numbers.”

The 2012 Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility. For more information about NACS, the Census of Agriculture, or to add your name to the Census mail list, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.