This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
In conducting the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) emphasized outreach to traditionally under-represented farm operators. I had a chance to travel across the United States to meet with groups from diverse farm and ranch communities and to work with many community-based organizations. NASS field office directors also met with many local producer organizations to discuss the census of agriculture and other USDA programs. In an effort to make it easier for Hispanic farmers and ranchers to respond to the census of agriculture, NASS hired Spanish-speaking interviewers to assist with collecting data.
The 2007 Census of Agriculture results show increasing diversity among U.S. farmers and ranchers. In 2007, there were more than 82,000 Hispanic farmers in the United States, a 14 percent increase from 2002. The increase of Hispanic farmers significantly outpaced the 7 percent increase in U.S. farm operators, overall. The census data also shows that Hispanic farm operators make up 2.5 percent of all farmers and ranchers in the U.S. The number of Hispanic female farm operators also increased 20 percent between 2002 and 2007.
Planning already is underway for the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The census is an opportunity for all farmers and ranchers to impact the future of U.S. agriculture. To make sure that you are counted, visit the NASS website and click on “Make sure I’m counted.”