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Census of Ag time again

WASHINGTON — If you're involved in U.S. agriculture — and value reliable statistics to help you make important decisions — you'll be interested in the upcoming 2017 Census of Agriculture, now available online.

The census, conducted every five years by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides data for every county in the nation. It's often the best — and sometimes only — source of information on key topics such as land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices and income and expenditures.

"As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers and ranchers and ranchers themselves," Hubert Hamer, NASS administrator, said in a statement.

Producers new to farming, or who didn't receive a 2012 census form, can receive a 2017 census form by visiting through June and clicking on the 'Make Sure You Are Counted' button. The census itself is available on the website, too.

The census will be mailed to farms by year's end, NASS says.

A farm, as defined for census purposes, is any place where at least $1,000 of ag products were produced and sold, or normally would have been, in 2017.