What’s New In the 2022 Census of Agriculture?
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be conducting the 2022 Census of Agriculture (COA) toward the end of 2022. It will be only the 6th time since the Department of Agriculture assumed the responsibilities from the Department of Commerce in 1997. Over the last quarter century, NASS has tried to stay current with new technologies or include new commodities that have recently been in the public eye.
After each COA, NASS gleans any comments and concerns from producers and others in the agricultural industry who may have had difficulty filling out the COA form or wished there was data about a particular commodity. Before each Census of Agriculture, a series of testing occurs, seeking feedback from a sample of producers and others in the agricultural industry about potential new items or newly worded questions to include in the next COA. Results dictate how the COA may be improved.
The 2022 Census of Agriculture will ask new questions about precision agriculture, hemp, and hair sheep, and include updates about internet access.
Precision agriculture practices include the use of global positioning (GPS) guidance systems, GPS yield monitoring and soil mapping, variable rate input applications, the use of drones, electronic tagging, precision feeding, robotic milking, and others. Responses to these questions will help determine the proliferation of technology in U.S. agriculture.
Due to renewed interest, NASS added hemp, known for its fiber, floral (CBD or other cannabinoid usages), grain, etc., to the list of field crops grown across the United States. Also added to the Nursery/Greenhouse section of the COA form is hemp for transplants, and hemp grown for seed. Responses to hemp questions will show the size and value of hemp production.
As requested by data users, the 2022 COA form will again include hair sheep questions left off of the previous COA. Responses will show the growth of the hair sheep industry.
Internet access questions combined cable modem, DSL, and fiber-optic service into one category referred to as broadband (high-speed) internet service. No longer are these separate categories. Another option more clearly stated in the 2022 COA form is a cellular data plan versus a satellite internet service. Dial-up service is still listed but not as a first option as in the 2017 COA form.
USDA NASS will be mailing out just under 3 million COA forms and letters by the end of November 2022. NASS recommends you respond online using the new Respondent Portal at agcounts.usda.gov. On the portal, you can complete your surveys, track upcoming surveys, access data visualizations and reports of interest, link to other USDA agencies, and more. In accordance with federal law, your responses will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed in an identifiable form. We look forward to hearing from each and every known producer in Arizona.