Even though the first deadline for filling out and sending in the 2017 Census of Agriculture the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will continue to accept Census information through the spring with the goal of getting an accurate assessment of American Agriculture.

"Thank you to everyone who completed their Census to date," said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. "If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to respond before things get busy this spring."

In Minnesota only 47 percent of the 96,400 Census questionnaires that were mailed last fall have been returned. The results provide a complete account of the agriculture industry, the changes and emerging trends.

"The data are used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities, federal, state and local governments, agribusiness, trade associations and many others," said Frederickson. At the Minnesota Department of Agriculture we use Census results to develop priorities for new initiatives and existing programs."

I know some farmers are concerned about giving their data to the government and how it will be used. I have asked about that and was assured that NASS only looks at and uses the data cumulatively.