It happen every five years and farmers are legally required to participate.
The Census of Agriculture will be conducted next month at the same time as the much larger Census of Population.
Farmers always question why the Census of Agriculture is done in May during one of the busiest times of year—seeding.
Greg Peterson is the director-general responsible for the Census of Agriculture.
He says May is the best time to do the population census because fewer people are away on holidays.
Farmers across the country will receive their Census of Agriculture notice next week.
“The letter will contain an access code to our on-line application,” Peterson says. “We are asking farmers to respond on-line if possible. If not, the letter will contain a 1-800 number to allow you to obtain a paper questionnaire.”
The ag census form is shorter and will take about 30 per cent less time to complete than the 2011 version.
“We have structured the electronic questionnaire so that you only respond to questions that are applicable to your operation. In tests, we have found that it takes between 25 and 50 minutes to complete the questionnaire.”
Respondents will no longer be required to provide detailed farm expenses.
“We have put a lot of effort in trying to strip out as much content as we can out of the Census of Agriculture. This time around we won’t be asking for detailed financial expenses. We found that we can get a lot of this type information from tax records, so we simply don’t need to put it on the Census questionnaire.”
Peterson says governments and farm organizations make good use of the data collected.
“Governments at all levels use the detailed Census of Agriculture information to evaluate or fine-tune programs that they make available to the agricultural community. Agricultural associations are also keen users of the information that we produce. They use the information to better explain the industry to policy makers and others.”
Census of Agriculture questions cover a wide range of topics, such as land use, crops, livestock, agricultural labour, machinery and equipment, land management practices and agricultural technology.