- January 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm #44443
A few weeks ago I recieved a 2012 ag census that got put on my dresser and forgot. A couple days ago I recieved a post card reminder saying it is required by law and if I don’t answer I will be contacted by phone or mail. That is all fine and well but what ticks me off is the note in bold letters. “If this form does not apply to you because you have never farmed, are no longer farming, are a small operation, etc., YOU SHOULD REPLY, so we can update our records and avoid further contacts. So what they are saying is that I am a small farmer and I don’t count. Sound like discrimination to me. I wonder what MLK would think.January 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm #77068dominiquer60Moderator
We got the Census too, rather my partner did, and he owns 4 horses that don’t live on the property. I don’t see it as a personal attack against farmers but rather, like Sam they somehow found your name associated with a farm name. In Sam’s case his name is associated with his fathers farm name and we are assuming that is how he got on the list. He helps his father farm and proudly displays the name on his hame covers and the USDA caught wind and wants to double check that he does or does not farm. They are trying to avoid wasting time money on someone that doesn’t make money for the IRS is how I see it. On the flip side, if they catch someone that has not been include in the census before and should, then they have their additional info that they are seeking.
I am going to ask a friend who ought to know more about this than either of us.January 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm #77063
Erika, I do farm a little bit. I own 80 acres. I rent out 33, plant 5 acres oats, 5 acres corn and around 15 acres of soy beans that get sold thru the local grain elevator. I figured that would count as a small operation. If it was the horses for a hobby I would agree with you but since I sell some crops and file my income tax with farmer being my occupation it seems a wrong to me.January 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm #77071gwpokyParticipant
What frustrates me is the USDA gets this information and it allows corporations like Cargill and ADM to manipulate the market in there favor. I think the local market should have more bearing. We farm, but we sell everything we produce directly, mostly through our CSA, so none of goes into the commodities market and this is seen as a threat to the MEGA players.
Just my ramble,
GeorgeJanuary 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #77069dominiquer60Moderator
I should not have assumed that you don’t farm, my apologies I have a hard time remembering what everyone does on this site. It sounds to me that you are a size they they would probably like to hear about.
My friend just got back to me and said that if you have anything that resembles Ag they would love to hear from you, especially about animals. With the NAIS 2.0 rearing its head they are looking for every animal owner so that they can get you in the system, hobbyist or not. I have a “please don’t ask me, I don’t want to tell” mentality when it comes to things like this. Although I think small farms are very very important, I don’t want to be part of big brother system, I want to be part of the local solution for food sovereignty.
A side note on how ridiculous the USDA is with our tax dollars:
A few years ago the family that I was with returned the Census, it triggered 2 visits by men hired by the USDA to go to farms and ask two questions: How many acres of oats did you plant? What is your expected yield? During the second trip they asked: How many acres of oats did you harvest? and what where your yields? The next farm on their list was 40 minutes from us, and was not the next closest farm that grew oats.
All of this (2 trips in a gas guzzling Durango, 2 men, and handouts of gloves and rain gauge) just to ask 4 questions about 5 acres of oats that are used on farm for feed. A ridiculous use of resources if you ask me, it would have been entirely more efficient to use the phone in this case.January 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm #77064
Erika, it sound like you and I feel the same way about these things. I don’t plan on answering. If they want to send someone out then I will start asking questions. Either I count or I don’t and it better be for the right reasons.January 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm #77070Ed ThayerParticipant
They contacted me too. Got my name from the NH Maple producers association web site. They troll around and find all these public web sites with our name and address on them then add us to the data base.
I started my wood fire with mine 😉
EdJanuary 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm #77062Carl RussellModerator
I get them every year, and I never reply…….. then I get a phone call, and a very sweet voice goes through the questions for me…… I think I just got one last week, but I am not sure where it is:rolleyes:
CarlJanuary 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm #77072fogishParticipant
You can submit it online if you want. It is essentially the same thing as the 10 year census of the entire population. They want to know what is going on with agriculture in the USA. It’s odd that they haven’t contacted me, I would assume they would get most of their list from the FDA, FSA, NASS(?) or USDA. It does say the IRS and USDA do not share information with each other so it doesn’t come from there.
“The Census of Agriculture is the responsibility of every farmer and rancher, regardless of the size or type of operation. For Census purposes, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. If you do not meet this criterion, please write this information on the front of the survey form and return it in the envelope provided. If you do not respond, we will continue to contact you by mail, phone or in person to obtain a response.”
“The Census provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Through the Census, producers can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture and they can help influence the decisions that will shape the future of American agriculture for years to come. By responding to the Census, producers are helping themselves, their communities and all of U.S. agriculture.
Census data are used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities – federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and many others.
—Farmers and ranchers can use Census data to help make informed decisions about the future of their own operations.
—Companies and cooperatives use the facts and figures to determine the locations of facilities that will serve agricultural producers.
—Community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents.
—Legislators use the numbers from the Census when shaping farm policies and programs.”
This information can be used to our advantage. We can show which counties in which states there is growth in small farms and local farming. Then we can compare that to local laws and in what ways agriculture is supported. How smaller farms are viable and it needs to be supported at the city, county, state and federal levels. People can make a living at it, should make a living at it and provide more for the community. The census occurs every 5 years so we can compare the data to past census and show the growth patterns. It can be a great tool to advance the overall smaller farm and local farm movement. I don’t know what the form looks like yet but it would be interesting if there were a way to track the growth of farming done with horse power as well.
That’s my 2-bits. I over analyze everything and probably spend too much time thinking so it’s worth what you paid for it.January 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm #77066near horseParticipant
I end up doing as Carl mentioned. Don’t fill it out and then get a call from a very accomodating lady who hops thru the questions and … done. And I think “fogish” has it right … they just want to know what the distributions of various farming operations are and that can/does determine what support/assistance is available ( not to mention lobbyists).
I don’t think there is anything sinister behind this.January 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm #77065
Geoff, I agree there is probably nothing sinister behind the census. I just get disgusted because it just goes to help the big guys get bigger and does nothing for us little guys.January 23, 2013 at 2:12 am #77067near horseParticipant
I understand how you feel Marshall. It seems that if we’re not counted then we are assured of being of no consequence to the govt. It might be futile to expect to be able to outcompete the highly paid lobby big ag has but this might be one of the few places we can be counted.
Sadly, when I worked in animal science at the U of I, the prevailing belief was that the handful of farms/ranches that made huge money were the main constituents to worry about – not supporting all farmers in the state which is what a land grant school was designated to do.
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