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Your Census. Your Story.

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The Census benefits you, your operation, and your community. Read and share stories of how the Census is working for you. Do you have a story to share?

Itís Your Census, tell Your Story now.

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Names: Hubert Hamer
State: Mississippi (Former)
Involvement in Agriculture: NASS Statistics Division Director

My Census Story: I grew up on a small livestock and row crop farm in Benton County, Mississippi. Like the agriculture trends that continue today, I left the family farm to go to college. I maintained my roots in agriculture with NASS by collecting and providing ag data to all those who serve farmers and rural communities. Through the Census, I work directly with the farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and community based organizations (CBOs) that rely on the vital information that only the Census provides.

From CBOs who depend on the data to help access needed resources to improve production and rural services, to agribusinesses that depend on the results to help access resources to improve facilities and diversity marketing options. Regardless of which county or community you represent, the real impact of the Census can be found at the local level.

I will use the new 2012 Census data to look at how I can I continue to empower others with Census data to help benefit farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

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Names: : Rod Bain; Sorghum grower Tim Lust; Dave Carter of the National Bison Association; Bob Haselwood of the United Soybean Board; Clay Bertram; Earl Garber of the National Association of Conservation Districts; David Palmer; Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner Michael Strain
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Farmer; Industry; Association; Government; Other

My Census Story: Ag data, like the Census of Agriculture, is important to business and government as a planning, financial, and marketing tool. Rod Bain reports.

audio icon  THE WIDE USE AND USERS OF AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS

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Names: Rod Bain; David Palmer; Bob Metz of US Soybean Export Council; Doug Stark of Farm Credit Service; Brian O'Toole; North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring; Weldon Wynn
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Industry; Association; Government; Other

My Census Story: How do businesses of all types use USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reports to do business? Rod Bain reports.

audio icon  THE BUSINESS OF AG STATISTICS

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Names: Rod Bain; North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Government

My Census Story: For uses ranging from policy to resource management, state agricultural departments keep a close eye on USDA reports and statistics.

audio icon  AG STATS IMPORTANT TO STATE AG DEPARTMENTS

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Names: Rod Bain; Dave Carter of the National Bison Association
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Association

My Census Story: The upcoming Census of Agriculture is one form of data bison producers rely on heavily for their business.

audio icon  BISON INDUSTRY CONNECTS WITH NASS REPORTS

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Names: Rod Bain; Earl Garber of the National Association of Conservation Districts
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Association

My Census Story: Landowners can decide what conservation measures to use by studying USDA agricultural statistical reports.

audio icon  USING AG STATISTICS FOR CONSERVATION PLANNING

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Names: Chris Novak of the National Pork Council
State: Various
Involvement in Agriculture: Association

My Census Story: Chris Novak of the National Pork Council provides examples on how producers use survey data related to their business.

audio icon  ACTUALITY: HOW THE PORK INDUSTRY USES USDA SURVEY DATA

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Name: Anonymous
State: Indiana
Involvement in Agriculture: Corn, soybean and hog producer, Soil and Water District Board Vice President

My Census Story:
As a corn, soybean and hog producer, agricultural and rural programs are important to me and to my farm. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Nutrient Management and Pest Management programs have all helped to make my farm more nutrient-efficient and more environmentally friendly.

The pool of dollars available for many of these programs is determined by farmers’ responses to the Census of Ag, so it is vital for farmers to accurately report acreages and environmental practices.

The Census of Ag provides valuable data that I use to make production decisions and identify changes or opportunities for our operation. I also use the data as a benchmarking tool, tracking how our herd numbers, acreage, technology use and practices, such as nutrient management and conservation tillage, compare to other local farmers, farmers across the state of Indiana and farmers across the country.

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Name: Dena
State: Maryland
Involvement in Agriculture: Planning for multi-species grazing; organic vegetable and fruit production; and agri-tourism.  I am also an ag educator, funded by the USDA.

My Census Story:
As a beginning grazier and organic vegetable farmer, I have found Extension very helpful in providing information and workshops on a wide range of crops and livestock.  I also work with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) agents in my county, who provide me with invaluable advice and planning, and have even worked with me to develop a conservation plan and bring grazing experts to my farm. In the future, we hope to participate in even more agricultural and rural programs, especially cost-share programs, like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), as we transition to organic and high-tunnel production, and work to alleviate natural resource concerns. 

The Census helps me because it is used to determine funding for the programs we use.  With the Census showing more and more small farms coming into production, I’m hopeful that funding for programs that benefit smaller farms will not only be preserved, but also enhanced.

The Census of Ag data also helps me in a more direct way. I’ve looked at the numbers of producers in my state engaged in practices similar to mine – both in terms of the kinds of crops and livestock, as well as the conservation practices we are going to employ – and I felt encouraged. There are enough folks on the same path as our farm to ensure we will be able to find supplies, support and the critical mass necessary to collectively garner a stake in the regional marketplace. The data told me a story about my area, and I felt that we were making the right choices for our locale.

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Name: Paul Hughes
State: Missouri
Involvement in Agriculture: Nestle Purina PetCare

My Census Story:
As a Commodity Risk Manager for a major food company, the USDA Census data is invaluable in providing visibility of production, consumption and inventories within the agricultural sector.

For any competitive market to function efficiently all market participants must operate with similar knowledge. Without equal knowledge distortions occur and markets become easily manipulated due to the imbalance of information.

What the USDA does, through their Census Reports, is provide all market participants, from the smallest farmer to the largest multi-national corporation, timely unbiased accurate supply/demand information in the agricultural sector. This allows me to analyze where we believe prices are headed and the level of volatility inherent in the markets. With this information, we can better manage our raw material costs as part of providing the best value proposition for the consumer.

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Name: Betty
State: Ohio
Involvement in Agriculture: Own a 50-acre farm

My Census Story:
I hope to be a responsible owner of a small piece of farm land that is mostly woods and a small section of tillable ground. I am concerned about the use of certain products on the land and I feel all the information the Census can compile will assist in better decisions for the future. As a widow with very little knowledge of agriculture, I did my best to give the correct answers that will assist in an accurate, informative Census. I believe Census data is very important and will assist small, as well as large, operators to work together to protect, preserve and promote a cleaner, safer environment for all of us.

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Name: Anonymous
State: Pennsylvania
Involvement in Agriculture: Farmer

My Census Story:
As an independent source of data, the Census of Agriculture provides the information needed to educate our government leaders about the importance of agriculture even on the county level.

In my county, officials were looking to save money in the snow removal budget and considered a reduction in rural plow service. Now our county is home to a lot of dairy farms that depend on milk tanker trucks all year long to pick up milk from the farm and deliver it to bottling and other processing plants. I used the county data in the Census of Agriculture to show our county officials the value of all that milk produced and explained the need for commercial trucking for every dairy farm. These officials had no idea of the size of the dairy industry in our county and reconsidered their plan for the snow removal budget with dairy farmers in mind.

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Name: Andy
State: Virginia
Involvement in Agriculture: Extension Agent

My Census Story:
As an Extension Agent, having factual information is critical in building public trust, and the Census of Agriculture insures that I have realistic data to share with farmers, county leaders, business owners, and the general public.  As a smaller percentage of our population is employed in production agriculture, I find that agricultural literacy among non-farming sectors is lacking.  The Census provides me with research-driven data to sell consumers on the importance of agriculture to their local economy and their improved ease of living on many levels. I also use the Census to prepare producers to better "tell the story" of agriculture to fellow citizens.

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Your Census. Your Story. Share yours now!