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USDA announces more Census of Ag details

The 2017 Census of Agriculture, the most comprehensive source of information about U.S. farmers and the crops they raise, will be released in about four months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

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Agriculture producers are required by law to fill out the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which they either have received or soon should receive. (Jenny Schlecht/Agweek)

The 2017 Census of Agriculture, the most comprehensive source of information about U.S. farmers and the crops they raise, will be released in about four months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

Portions of the report, which is conducted every five years, will first be released Feb. 21, with the rest of the data put out on a staggered schedule, USDA says.

The census, conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, has information on every state and county in the nation. It's used by local and national decision-makers to influence ag research and education and other policy issues. It's also used by many others in agriculture, including ag journalists.

The 2017 census was sent to more than 3 million known and potential farmers nationwide, with 71.5 percent responding. The 2012 census' response rate was 74.5 percent.

To offset the non-responses, NASS uses "accepted statistical methods and practices in our data analyses," the organization says.

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We look forward to sharing the results of the Census when our analyses are complete." NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer said in a written statement.

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