Federal ag survey mailed to farmersby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — This month, Minnesota farmers should receive their survey forms for the five-year agricultural census which informs federal farm policy.
Twice a decade, the U.S. Agriculture Department census documents basic information like the number of U.S. farms, their average size and what they produce.
Doug Hartwig, director of the USDA's Minnesota field office, said more than 80 percent of farmers send back the questionnaire.
"Producers understand the value of the census and having the word put out about what's going on in agriculture," said Hartwig.
One of the most important functions of the census is to provide basic information for farm bills and other legislation affecting agriculture.
"One thing out of the census that we saw last time is that the principal operators being women was up a thousand people in Minnesota to 7,361," said Hartwig. "It shows demographic characteristics and that type of information."
The results of this year's census will be released in 2014.