AUGUSTA, Maine — Are you a farmer? If you are, even on a tiny scale, it’s a safe bet that the United States Department of Agriculture is looking for you.
Every five years, the federal agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts a census of agriculture, the country’s leading source of facts and figures about farms, ranches and the people who operate them.
“It’s the one standardized scientific overview of agriculture in the United States,” John Bott, the director of communications for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said Wednesday. “We use it to try and see where we are as a state.”
For the 2017 census, all farmers or ranchers are asked to participate, even if their agricultural enterprise is quite small. The census considers an operation to be a farm if it sells or normally would sell $1,000 or more in agricultural products every year. That’s a low bar, Bott said, adding that it’s possible some of those smaller producers might not realize that they count a farmers, too.