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By Kate Hansen
Policy associate Center for Rural Affairs 

Every operation counts as USDA begins ag census


Large or small, all farms and ranches are important to our country’s agriculture sector.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts the Census of Agriculture. The goal is to get a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Information collected includes land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures.

The census sets out to capture information for operations of all sizes. According to NASS, producers who own small plots of land where fruits, vege...

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