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Agriculture Census Asking Arizona Farmers To Be Counted
The Census measure is used by farmers and ranchers to make decisions about operations. Legislators use the numbers to shape policies. Dave DeWalt is Arizona’s statistician for the USDA.
"So many people are affected by agriculture that they usually don’t realize it but you know, we all eat every day, so food is agriculture," DeWalt said.
He said data also shows that Arizona’s food needs are being produced by a smaller number of farmers.
“You know when we started as a nation 250 years ago, nearly everybody was a farmer. Now, only two percent of the U.S. population are farmers,” said DeWalt.
In 2017, Arizona reported 19,600 farms in the state, trending down from just over 20,000 in 2015.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service is wrapping up data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. To stay on track for data release in February 2019, the deadline for submitting the paper questionnaire is June 15, 2018.
This data is used to make important local, state and national decisions that will have a very real impact on farmers, ranchers, agriculture operations and rural communities, according to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
The nationwide agricultural census is comprehensive across all 50 states.