USDA to release Census of Agriculture data on Feb. 20

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release the first look at the 2012 Census of Agriculture results in a preliminary report on February 20. The data will include number of farms, land in farms (acreage), market value of agricultural products sold including government payments, and demographics at the state and national levels and for Puerto Rico. USDA will release the full Census results, including data to the county level, later in the spring.

"The Census of Agriculture is a key resource used in evaluating and implementing policies and programs to help the U.S. agriculture economy, invest in rural America and support the next generation of farmers," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I'm looking forward to discussing the most recent results of the 2012 Census at the Agricultural Outlook Forum and how we can best use the data as we move forward in serving America's farmers, ranchers and all those USDA serves every day."

On February 20 at noon ET, Secretary Vilsack will present the preliminary results from the Census of Agriculture at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA. Following the announcement, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will hold a detailed session at 1:30 p.m. ET to provide a more in-depth overview of the preliminary results. The report and all information will also be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

"NASS is excited to provide the first look at the new Census of Agriculture in two weeks and the final report later in the spring," said NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark. "The Agency has made great advancements to gather more information and refine the methodology it uses to produce the most current, complete and accurate statistics."

Conducted since 1840, the Census is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. For the 2012 Census, to keep up to date with U.S. agriculture and trends, NASS asked new questions on Internet access, regional food systems, biomass production, agro-forestry, and equine.

NASS also used additional steps in analyzing the data to account for three areas of concern in conducting a survey of this magnitude: undercoverage, nonresponse, and misclassification as to whether a property is a farm or not. This methodology produces final estimates that account for all farms in the United States.

As a measure of transparency and data usability, NASS is publishing the coefficient of variation associated with all estimates at the national and state level. As NASS continues to analyze data to the county level, changes in the initial estimates may occur from the preliminary report to the final report.

USDA is committed to providing equal public access to its data and will release the preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture results to all parties at the same time. We will announce a date for the full Census release as soon as possible.

For more information about the Census, including access to the 2012 Census report when it is released, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.


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