A federal survey is getting under way to measure the nation's farming acreage, government subsidies and leading crops.
The deadline for farmers across the country to sign up to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture is July 1.
The USDA is preparing to mail the 2012 Census to millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers in late December. Anyone who receives a form in the mail is required by law to participate, even if the recipient did not operate a farm or ranch in 2012.
The Ag Census, which takes place every five years, is a complete count of the nation's farms and ranches and the hands that keep them in operation.
Federal and state agricultural leaders are reminding producers, through a public service announcement campaign, not to miss their opportunity to be counted, according to a USDA statement.
“Local and national leaders use the Census to make decisions that directly impact your business, your community and your industry,” according to the federal agency.
“Whether you’re farming four thousand acres or just four, it’s important. Every voice counts.”
From 2002 to 2007, the survey showed that the size of the average South Carolina farm shrunk from 197 acres down to 189 acres. During that same time, the amount of government funding a farm received grew from $6,280 average per-farm to $8,717 in 2007.