Be sure to be counted in 2017


Hello again,

Do you ever wonder how you got into farming? I would be willing to bet that your operation is probably quite different now than it was when you first started. I remember when… I had one tractor, a few implements and relied on the generosity of friends,

I would be willing to bet that your operation is probably quite different now than it was when you first started. I remember when I had one tractor, a few implements and relied on the generosity of friends, family and neighbors for advice, equipment and support, though the advice was usually freely given and not always wanted!

Oh, the trials and tribulations of getting started. Farming is no different from any other business, in that it takes resources to be successful. Capital, knowledge and labor are all important.

USDA can help with the capital and resources though you have to supply the strong back. The USDA has a website to connect those interested in getting started in farming or even to get ideas to improve their farming operation, with programs, services and resources available through USDA. Find it at

This site features advice and guidance on things a farm owner might need to know, from writing a business plan, obtaining a loan, growing their business, filing taxes as a small business owner, developing new markets or even effective farming techniques and conservation practices.

Having access to relevant training and education opportunities is a great tool for those folks just starting out or wanting to see how others may be doing things.

By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may help them meet their needs.

This site is easy to use and full of tips, ideas, and information. If you’re a farmer you will soon have the opportunity to represent agriculture by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Conducted every five years by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the census, to be mailed later this year, is as complete a count of all U.S. farms and those who operate them as we can get.

The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007.

However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.

This information is important to all of us because Congress will use this data to help tailor the next farm bill to current needs and practices for agriculture.

Though you will fill out your farm specific information, it is not used as a record for your farm. When you are asked for farm specific yields, they will be used to determine a county average yield, not adjust your farm yield.

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting and clicking on the “Make Sure You Are Counted” button through June.

NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.

Thank you for your continued support with this survey.

Be safe and happy planting,

FSA Andy

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FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio.



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