Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
January 08, 2013
Agriculture remains an integral part of the Polk County economy. From farming to forestry, livestock to nursery stock, the agriculture industry plays a vital role in the region's landscape.
That makes the upcoming deadline for the U.S Department of Agriculture's 2012 Census of Agriculture an important date for Polk County -- and agriculture in general.
By participating in the Census of Agriculture, Polk County farmers have an opportunity to have a voice in hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing and policy decisions made at the local, state and national levels.
How's that? Results of the survey will be used to determine funding for Extension work, research, soil conservation and other agricultural-related services, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is responsible for conducting the census in Oregon. Private industry uses census statistics to develop more effective production and distribution systems. Specific grant-program dollars are often distributed based on need displayed in the survey.
Information provided is confidential and the data one submits can be used for statistical purposes only. Those who received a form are required by federal law to complete the survey, even if they did not operate a farm or ranch in 2012.
The Census of Agriculture takes place every five years. Farmers should have received their survey from the USDA in late December or early January.
Results from the 2012 Census of Agriculture -- including information on Polk County -- won't be available until early 2014. But the data generated from the survey will be used for years to come. Most importantly, the data should reveal just how important the agriculture industry is to our society from an economic perspective.
"The census provides a comprehensive snapshot for Oregon all the way down to the county level and gives all kinds of information about the farm population," said Chris Mertz, state director for the Oregon Field Office of USDA-NASS. "We need data that is as accurate as possible because it definitely helps the agricultural community and population in general by presenting the real story of agriculture in Oregon and the U.S."
The deadline for returning the completed survey is Feb. 4. An online option is available. Here's hoping Polk County farmers do their part to someday help themselves and help their industry.