USDA TO GAUGE FARMLAND OWNERSHIP AND FARM ECONOMICS

December 30, 2014

(HARRISBURG, PA) ― The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will begin surveying farmland owners to measure financial impacts and challenges of land ownership. Landowners will begin receiving forms for the survey, called Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL), by the end of December.

“The recent Census of Agriculture counted more than 6.5 million acres of land that were rented or leased in the Northeast Region, but it has been more than a decade since NASS spoke to landowners themselves,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “I hope all who receive TOTAL surveys will respond to help update landownership information. The data will ensure that all decisions impacting the Northeast Regional farmland is based on accurate information that comes directly from the source.”

TOTAL is a part of the Census of Agriculture program, which means response to this survey is mandatory. The TOTAL survey program will collect data from both farm operators and landlords who are not farm operators to create a complete picture of farm costs, land ownership, demographics about farm operators and landlords, and improvements made to farmland and buildings, among other characteristics. More than 80,000 farmland owners and producers across the United States will receive TOTAL forms, including 5,380 in the Northeast Region.

“This survey is lengthy and we realize some producers and landowners may have questions or need clarification,” explained Whetstone. “In February, our interviewers will begin reaching out to those producers and landowners who have not yet responded to answer any questions they may have and help them fill out their questionnaires.”

In addition to accurate data, NASS is strongly committed to confidentiality. Information provided by respondents is confidential by law. The agency safeguards the confidentiality of all responses, ensuring no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

NASS will publish results of the TOTAL survey in its Quick Stats database in August 2015. Quick Stats is available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats . NASS will also publish the economic data gathered in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on August 4, 2015.

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