(HARRISBURG, PA) ― As millions of Americans venture out to purchase a fresh cut Christmas tree or poinsettia this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is gearing up to survey the producers of those cherished holiday traditions. NASS is conducting the 2014 Census of Horticultural Specialties to gather detailed information on horticultural production and sales across the United States.
“The Census of Horticulture includes producers of floriculture, nursery and other specialty crops,” said NASS’s Northeastern Regional Director, King Whetstone. “According to the most recent Census of Agriculture results, nursery and floriculture products were more than a $14.5 billion industry in the United States in 2012 – 11,809 operations in the Northeast produced greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture crops in 2012. This special census is an opportunity for producers to provide detailed information on their industry to help ensure the continued growth and sustainability of horticultural farming.”
Last conducted in 2009, this census will provide the only source of comparable and consistent data at the national and state levels for the industry. NASS will gather information on horticultural activities conducted during 2014, including production of horticultural crops, value of products, square footage used for growing crops, production expenses and more.
Whetstone noted that the opportunity to respond to the Census of Horticulture is not something that comes along once a month, or even once a year. “Participation is important because this census is a unique opportunity to provide information that will be used by policymakers, organizations and businesses for the next several years to help make decisions regarding the availability of goods and services, funding, policies and other key issues that affect the industry,” he said.
In December, NASS will mail the census to selected horticultural operations in the United States. For the 2014 Census of Horticulture Specialties, an operation is defined as any place that grew and sold $10,000 or more of horticultural specialty products in 2012, as reported in the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
Producers can fill out the Census online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail. Federal law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all producers who receive a form to respond and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
Recipients are required to respond by February 5, 2015. NASS will publish the results in December 2015. For more information about the Census of Horticulture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.
As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential, as required by federal law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1-800- 498-1518.