Time is running out for Iowa farmers to return their 2017 Census of Agriculture forms. The USDA conducts the survey every five years and the results help shape federal and state policy. Iowa’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is urging farmers and landowners to fill out the entire survey and take it seriously.
“The more information that we can provide the USDA, the better their dataset will be. The fewer people who respond, the more assumptions the USDA has to make,” Naig says.
Business, universities, and local and national farm groups also use the Census of Agriculture data to make various funding and program decisions. Eligible Iowans should have received their surveys and responding, either on paper or online, is required by law. Naig says he looks forward to seeing what’s changing in Iowa farm country.
“We are very interested in seeing any trends that are developing or continuing in terms of land use, no-till, conservation practices, cover crops, those types of things that emerge from that dataset are very interesting to us,” Naig says.
The Census of Ag, conducted every five years, will also show changes in the age of Iowa’s farmers, and how many women and veterans are farming in the state.
The responses are due February 5.
(story courtesy of Radio Iowa/Iowa Public Radio)