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Hemp farmers may have seen something new in their mailboxes this winter, as federal agriculture officials prepare for the 2022 Census of Agriculture, which will include hemp farmers for the first time.
Over the last two months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service sent “content tests” to a sample of 36,000 producers from various agriculture segments across the country.
The content tests are brief surveys to help the agency market projections for the larger census.
The NASS conducts the Census of Agriculture once every five years, giving the USDA a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them.
The ag census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and is a source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation.
Through the census, agricultural producers provide information that can influence decisions that shape their industry segment and the future of U.S. agriculture.
According to USDA-NASS, there will be several tests running concurrently through this spring to address producer requests and technological trends, including the inclusion of previously reported data.
NASS is also testing the way it collects its data. The content test is a short survey that includes a handful of screening questions to determine if operations meet the definition of a farm, helping to fine-tune the accuracy of the sample list for the upcoming census.
Most important for hemp producers, the NASS is testing questions for the new commodity, which will be included for the first time in the 2022 Census of Agriculture.
All content test results will be considered for incorporation in the upcoming census, and in accordance with federal law, USDA-NASS will keep all responses confidential and uses them only for statistical purposes.
Farmers who received a content test can get assistance for completing it by calling 888-424-7828.