Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

January 28, 2008

Commissioner Hooker Reminds Farmers To Complete Ag Census

Ag Census Important for All Farmers; Reports Due in by February 4th

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today urged farmers in New York State to complete and return their 2007 Census of Agriculture report. The Census of Agriculture, taken every five years, is a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them, and examines land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and many other areas.

"The Census of Agriculture is the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for New York State," the Commissioner said. "With all the changes agriculture experiences across the State, the Census is the one tool that provides us with the complete picture needed to show the nation the value and importance of New York agriculture and the guidance to adequately influence decisions that will shape the future of agriculture."

Census data is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities – federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and many others. For instance, local officials use Census data to develop their plans for Agricultural Districts. Companies and cooperatives use the information to locate facilities that will serve agricultural producers. Community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents. USDA uses the information to ensure that local service centers are staffed at appropriate levels. Legislators use the information when shaping farm policies and programs.

Conducted by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census is the most comprehensive portrait of agriculture at the county, state and national levels. The only source of uniform data on agricultural production and farm operator characteristics, the Census serves as a measurement of where farmers and ranchers stand, their production costs and cropping systems, their farm supply needs, and how trends are changing.

Because of the importance of this information, Congress requires USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to conduct the Census of Agriculture every five years. The 2007 Census of Agriculture is the Nation’s 27th Agricultural Census.

Agriculture is one of New York’s largest and most vital industries, encompassing 25 percent of the State’s landscape and generating more than $3.6 billion for our economy each year. New York State has 7.6 million acres of farmland with 35,000 farms. The State is also a leader in a variety of farm products, ranking first in cottage cheese, second in apples and cabbage, and third in milk, maple syrup, grapes, sweet corn, snap beans, and cauliflower.

For more information or for assistance in completing your census form, call the New York field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service at 800-821-1276.

2008 Press Releases