Have you received a new mailer from USDA, asking for help on the next census? USDA officials say they’re running multiple “content tests” to help improve accuracy in future surveys.

If producers have ignored NASS efforts to reach them, they may receive a mailer with the shortest survey the agency has circulated.

“It will literally take those who receive it a minute or two to complete,” NASS Supervisory Statistician Adam Cline told Agri-Pulse in an email.

That’s because it’s basically a yes/no to let NASS know whether the respondent is engaged in farming. “No” respondents won’t receive the full survey next year.

Farms that have kept in touch with NASS may get other test surveys, which the agency will use to refine 2022 census plans.

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“Once data collection ends in April, NASS staff will begin analysis of the Content Test results in order to make recommendations for the 2022 Census of Agriculture,” Cline said.

Cline says one hope for the 2022 Census is that more participants will respond online, which he says will save time and money and reduce errors. The portal now shows users their past data so they can update and change it, rather than reentering from scratch.

There is one more data release scheduled from the 2017 Census of Agriculture; 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices will be out in November.

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