NDSU Extension - Morton County


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January 15, 2018 Respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture

Dates to Remember

Jan. 18                 Morton County Fair Board Meeting, New Salem
Jan. 20                 Parents Forever, Mandan
Jan. 22                 Building Strong Families series (Jan. 22, 29 & Feb. 5), Mandan
Jan. 22                 Marketing Club Meeting, BSC
Jan. 30                 Buying Bulls by the Numbers Workshop, ARS Station, Mandan


Respond now to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

In 2012, Morton County had 887 farms with about 1.2 million acres of land in farms, showing an increase from 2007 nearly 6% and 5% respectively. The average market value of products sold per farm was $254,000, up nearly 81% from the 2007 average of $140,000. Nearly 52% of land is used for pasture, 45% is used as cropland, and 3% is used for other purposes. Ranchers run almost 112,000 cattle and calves in Morton County, ranking #1 in the state. How do I know this, you ask? I know because county producers responded. The time has come, once again, to respond to the Census of Agriculture.

Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers, and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development, and more.

Here are a couple examples of why it is important to respond.

“It’s really hard for us to advocate for young farmers if we don’t have the data.” – Michelle Hughes, National Young Farmers Coalition

“We look at a lot of USDA data that comes out in the realm of cattle but also in the realm of crops and the feed that goes into cattle… if we don’t have good statistics, it’s hard to make good decisions.” – Jimmy Maxey, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. This includes producers of livestock, field crops, fruits, vegetables, and floriculture.

The National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) planned to mail questionnaires for the 2017 Census of Agriculture to farm and ranch operations in December, so you should have received yours by now. If you are new to farming and haven’t received the form, you can go to www.agcensus.usda.gov to sign up as a participant.  Completed forms are due by February 5th, 2018 . Respondents can complete the Census online at www.agcensus.usda.gov or return their forms by mail. Results will be released February 2019. 


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