116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
This fall the U.S. Department of Agriculture will start its 2022 Census of Agriculture, counting farms and ranches and the people who operate them.
The ag census, which looks at land use and ownership, owner characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, helps the USDA decide how to spend money. The data also is used for research studies, agricultural education and programming decisions at the state level.
The criteria for participating in the census is whether you raised and sold at least $1,000 of agricultural products, including some animals, during 2022. The deadline for signing up is June 22.
So how is the government making sure the census forms reach non-traditional farmers, such as urban farmers and people of color?
First, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service made sure census outreach materials showed the diversity of people in farming, i.e. not just white men growing corn, soybeans and cotton.
“Feedback from the last census told us that people want to see themselves in the outreach materials,” Jodi Halvorson, a spokeswoman for the statistics service, said in an email to The Gazette. “The ag census outreach campaign brochures, ads, web sliders, flyers and other materials showcase the diversity of American agriculture.”
In December, the Statistics Service wrapped up its National Agricultural Classification Survey, a list-building effort sent to more than 1 million potential agricultural producers. The results of that survey help make sure the USDA has the most complete and accurate mailing list for the 2022 ag census, Halvorson said.
The organization also will hold a national workshop Sept. 19-22 in San Antonio for community-based organizations to help them encourage farmers to get their census forms in before the response deadline in February.
“The focus of the workshop is to strengthen and leverage our partnerships with CBO groups to better reach historically underserved and hard to reach communities,” Halvorson said. “Updates for partners and stakeholders who want to help us promote and get the word out will be posted in the Partner Tools section of the 2022 Census of Agriculture website.”
Farmers and other users can access previous ag censuses all the way back to 1840 online.
“Producers now have more resources at their fingertips. They can access data visualizations and reports of interest, link to other USDA agencies, and so much more,” Halvorson said.
June 30 — sign up ends. Sign up here https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/static/get-counted.html
November 2022 — census mails out
February 2023 — response deadline
Spring/summer 2024 — data release
The USDA’s 2017 ag census reported 99.6 percent of Iowa’s 143,447 farmers were white. Other producers counted in the previous census are:
- Asian 151
- More than one race reported 217
- Black or African American 72
- Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 21
Nationwide, there were 45,508 Black farmers, which was 1.3 percent of nearly 4 million producers, the USDA reported.
Black farmers The Gazette interviewed in February said national and state numbers may be underreported because some Black growers of vegetables and flowers may not consider themselves traditional farmers or they may not be on the USDA’s radar.
T.D. Holub, of Coggon, started Garden Oasis Farm in 2013 with a friend and half an acre of his grandparents’ lawn. He now rents 6.5 acres from his family and bought a 3.5-acre homestead he shares with his wife, Sarah, and young daughters, Macynn and Natalie.
Garden Oasis grows 40 types of vegetables to supply 100 CSA members with produce throughout the growing season.
The Holubs have several high tunnel greenhouses, which allow them to extend their growing season from March through December. They also process 500 to 600 pasture-raised broiler chickens each year.
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