Cooperative Extension to assist USDA with agricultural census
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), with assistance from the Cooperative Extension & Outreach at University of Guam’s College of Natural & Applied Sciences and the Guam Department of Agriculture, will start collecting Census of Agriculture data from all known farmers this spring.
The Census of Agriculture provides the most widely used statistics in the agriculture industry. Typically conducted every five years, it was last collected in Guam more than 10 years ago due to budget constraints. It is the leading source of statistics about Guam’s agricultural production and the only source of comprehensive, comparable data at the island level. Among other things, the data can be used by local agencies and organizations to provide more effective production and distribution systems for the agricultural community. One of the most important uses of census data is to justify claims of farmers who may suffer damages and losses due to natural disasters, such as typhoons.
“Census data are used to make important local and national decisions that affect Guam’s farmers and their communities,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We need to hear from all of our farmers in order to provide the most accurate, most helpful information about agriculture on the island.”
Starting this spring, a local representative will visit each farm to assist in the collection of these vital data. For this effort, a farm is defined as all places from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, in 2018. For this census, USDA revised the questions to capture changes and emerging trends in the industry. The questionnaire includes an expanded list of commodities and new questions on agricultural practices.
Guam is included in the census program in accordance with an agreement between NASS and the University of Guam. Participating in the census is required by federal law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires USDA to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to publish data only in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. USDA will release census results in the summer of 2020.
For more information about the Census of Agriculture, visit www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
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