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Brancel urges farmers to participate in Ag Census

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MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  Another census is in progress.  It’s not to count people, it’s to count all things about agriculture in Wisconsin. State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel says the census papers should be arriving in the mail for ag producers of all kinds, and he encourages everyone to fill them out as completely and accurately as possible.

Brancel says this surveys Wisconsin agriculture in detail every five years as part of the USDA’s national census, and there are several questions for producers to answer.  He says the census is important for marketing home and abroad, and it’s important for formulating ag policy.

The surveys are due February 4th. After the information is received, the Department has months of data compilation to perform with three primary goals.  "The first step is confidentiality, make sure information cannot be tracked back to any one producer or locale, and review all information before it's released to make sure it's as accurate as possible.”

Secretary Brancel says buyers of commodities use the census data, because they want to know what producers are dabbling in a certain product and which ones are really good at producing a commodity consistently at a good price, such as Wisconsin ginsing, cranberries, potatoes, dairy and other kinds of commodities.

Several statistics will come from the census such as the number of farms in the state, gallons of milk produced, how many livestock, or the types of vegetables grown. They even keep track of how many Christmas trees were harvested and the average age of a farmer.

Brancel says “The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county across the nation. By completing your 2012 Census, government leaders, agribusinesses and trade associations will have the information needed to make good decisions impacting agriculture and our rural communities.”

The Census needs to be completed by mail or online at www.agcensus.usda.gov by February 4. Information collected by the Census is kept confidential.

For more details about the Census of Agriculture, call toll-free 888-4AG-STAT or 888-424-7828.

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