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Census of Agriculture: Big Brother for Farmers?

January 15, 2013
By: Nate Birt, Top Producer Deputy Managing Editor
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The U.S. Census of Agriculture due to the government early next month is worrisome to a number of U.S. Farm Report viewers. Additional comments left via Farm Journal’s "I Studied Agriculture and I Have A Job" reveal similar sentiments.

Comments stem from a recent commentary expressing concerns about the survey by U.S. Farm Report host John Phipps.

"Total agreement about the census taking," retired farmer Tom Eakin writes. "These people already have this information, at your local FSA office. Acres are certified, wheat, barley, CRP. One government entity realizes this, the IRS! Perhaps this is a place to help balance the budget, do away with this bureaucracy, if they can't interpret available information, why have them?" 

(Click here to read more comments about the Census of Agriculture on the U.S. Farm Report Mailbag blog, then click here to read more reaction to the census on Facebook.)

Charlie Fox of Wheeling, W.V., agrees.

"Three cheers to you, John! " Fox writes. "Enabling USDA gains nothing but a continuation of poor performance and perpetuation of bureaucratic inefficiency."

What’s more, the form requests way too much information, writes Matthew Boucher via Facebook

"While the gov needs to know the acre figures for crops and such, there is so much on that form that they do not need to know anything about," Boucher writes.

Another commenter on Facebook, Annie Lohman, characterizes the census as an "intrusive exercise."

"Most of the crops we grow end up lumped into the proverbial "other" category and the USDA rarely- if ever- reports on the crops we grow," Lohman writes. "BTW, last I looked if you don't have seed, you don't plant. So why the government gives seed growers hardly any credit is a mystery to me!"

At the same time, it’s important for people in agriculture to press their legislators for action if there are problems with the way agriculture is handled, writes Ken Wagoner.

"While I understand, and to a certain degree agree with, your reasoning, it seems rather defeatist in nature to simply not participate based on little more than your perception of what is happening at NASS," Wagoner writes. "I equate this roughly with choosing not to vote simply because one does not like any of the candidates. When we don't take an active role in the process, those in charge assume that we are okay with whatever they choose to do."
 

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RELATED TOPICS: Policy, USDA

 
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COMMENTS (3 Comments)

freddie goettsch
Government,government,government... The census ask me landlords income and expense numbers... How do i have the right to release that private and personal information without their permission?..or why should i even be asked to.
9:40 AM Jan 16th
 
NWNODAK
F em they can figure out what we have in bins. they just screw the numbers around to help their own cause.
5:43 PM Jan 15th
 
NWNODAK
F em they can figure out what we have in bins. they just screw the numbers around to help their own cause.
5:43 PM Jan 15th
 



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