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Ag census mailed to Maryland farmers

December 26, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is mailing the 2012 Census of Agriculture to Maryland farmers, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture urges all Maryland farmers to complete the Census by the Feb. 4 deadline. The Census can be taken online or mailed in.

For the first time, the 2012 Census contains questions asking for the number of acres under conservation tillage practices, acres planted to cover crops and acres under conservation easements. This information will be critical in documenting the work farmers are doing collectively to be good stewards of the environment.

Through the census, producers can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture both environmentally and economically. By responding to the census, producers are helping themselves, their communities and all of U.S. agriculture.

The Ag Census — which is conducted every five years — defines a farm as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the census year (2012).  All agricultural operations are encouraged to report, regardless of size. Participation in the census is required by law.

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The Census of Agriculture — a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches, and the people who operate them — is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Local and national leaders use information from the census to make decisions that directly impact the agricultural industry, rural development and other resource-based industries and small businesses.

Individual information provided to the census must be kept confidential, by law. USDA will begin releasing results from the survey in February 2014. To read FAQs about the census, go to http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Partners/FAQs/Census_FAQs.pdf

For more information, go to http://www.mda.maryland.gov/news_room/2012census.php or http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/index.php.

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