Governor declares January state agriculture census month

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Governor Bob McDonnell has declared January 2013 as Virginia Agriculture Census Month.

The Census of Agriculture – a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them, which takes place every five years – is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Local and national leaders use information from the Census to make decisions that directly impact the agricultural industry, rural development and other resource-based industries and small businesses.

“I believe it is of the utmost importance to all of us in agriculture that those decisions are based on the most accurate and objective information possible,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner.

In addition, farmers and ag-related businesses can use the information to make decisions about their own business development opportunities. By responding to the Census, farmers help themselves, their communities and all of U.S. agriculture.

The last national agricultural census took place in 2007.

At that time Greene County showed a 4percent increase in the number of farms, up to 222 from 214 in 2002; a decrease of 5 percent in the number of acres devoted to farming, down to 31,013 from 32,590 in 2002; an 8 percent decrease in the average size of farms, down to 140 acres from 152 acres in 2002; and a 32 percent increase in market value of products sold, up to $7,696,000 from $5,815,000 in 2002 (22 percent were crop sales at $1,727,000; 78 percent were livestock sales at $5,970,000; and the average per farm was $34,669, up 28 percent from $27,172 in 2002).

Government payments to farms in Greene County were down 60 percent, from $153,000 in 2002 to $61,000 in 2007.

According to VDACS the kind of information available through the Ag Census is not available anywhere else, and this year, it is collecting some new information. The 2012 Census asks for the number of acres under conservation tillage practices, acres planted to cover crops and acres under conservation easements. This information will be critical in documenting the work farmers are doing collectively to be good stewards of the environment.

January 2013 is the commemorative month for the 2012 Ag Census because 2012 is the production year but reporting occurs in January through February 4.

For more Greene County highlights, as well as ranked items among state and US counties visit http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/index.php.

 

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