Earlier this week I received a very official letter from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA.) It was the 2017 Census of Agriculture survey. It was familiar as all farmers get this letter every year at this time. The survey is conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service which is kind of part of the USDA. I did notice a phrase in bold letters on the envelope, Your Response is Required By Law. The Due Date is February 5, 2018.

I know many farmers myself included, are not very happy with some of the crop estimates in the monthly USDA Supply Demand Reports! We may think why should I give the USDA any of my information when we cannot understand how they come up with some of their estimates and projections? However, it is important that farmers fill out these surveys. Data from the surveys is used to develop farm bills, disaster, conservation, crop insurance and many other Federal Programs.

It does take a lot of time to fill out the survey as the booklet is 24 pages long. I suspect no one has ever been prosecuted for not filling out the Census of Agriculture. However, if you participate in Federal Farm Programs you should fill out the survey. In case you are wondering, I will fill out the survey and send it in!