DOVER, Del. — Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) surveys every agricultural producer across the country and in Puerto Rico to obtain a complete account of the industry, its changes, and emerging trends. Less than 25 percent of Delaware producers have responded to the 2022 Ag Census, which could jeopardize farm policy and decision-making about disaster relief, community planning, technology development, and more.
“We know from the 2017 Ag Census that more than half of Delaware’s farms are smaller than 50 acres. This is important to know when Delawareans are trying to decide if they should participate in the 2022 Ag Census because our agriculture industry is evolving to include more small-scale farms,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “We want all producers to respond, including those in rural communities and those involved in urban agriculture. Whether you grow crops or nursery stock, are a beekeeper, or raise livestock or poultry, your participation helps tell the story of Delaware agriculture.”
Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or typically would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022 are included in the Ag Census.
Producers received a survey code with an invitation to respond online at agcounts.usda.gov in November. Anyone who did not respond before should complete their survey online or submit it by mail no later than February 6. Everyone who received the 2022 Census of Agriculture questionnaire is required to return it, even if they are not currently farming. The first few qualifying questions on the form will determine whether completing the entire questionnaire is necessary.
Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, use the data only for statistical purposes, and publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the Ag Census in 2024.
To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit https://nass.usda.gov/agcensus.
–Stacey Hofmann, Delaware Department of Agriculture