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Tuesday is Census of Ag deadline!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture is often the best -- and sometimes only -- information on key topics such as land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices and income and expenditures.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture is often the best -- and sometimes only -- information on key topics such as land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices and income and expenditures.

Today, July 31, is the deadline for farmers and ranchers to submit their information for the census, conducted every five years in years ending in 2 and 7.

More than 3 million U.S. ag producers received the 2017 questionnaire. Farm operations of all sizes that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, at least $1,000 of ag products in 2017 are included in the census. U.S. law requires everyone who receives a Census of Agriculture report form to respond even if they didn't operate a farm or ranch in 2017, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the arm of USDA that conducts the census.

The deadline for the paper questionnaire has passed, but producers can complete the census questionnaire at  www.agcensus.usda.gov  or by calling toll-free (888) 424-7828 through July 31.

NASS says it's required by federal law "to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. "

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The agency stresses that all responses are important, even from former farmers and ranchers who say they're no longer involved in farming. 

The 2017 Census of Agriculture is expected to be released in February 2019.

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