Anne M. Eberhardt

Farms Urged to Participate in USDA Census

The deadline for submitting information to the USDA is Feb. 4, the AHC said.

The United States Department of Agriculture 2012 census will include horses, and the American Horse Council is urging horse farms to participate.

The USDA completes the census every five years to determine the number of farms and ranches, as well as compile information on livestock populations and farm income. Information gleaned this year will reflect the business of 2012.

"It is very important that the American horse community is properly accounted for in the upcoming census," AHC president Jay Hickey said in a release. "The information collected by the census will influence agricultural policy for the next five years. It's vital all farms and ranches with horses participate in the census so the USDA has accurate information regarding the size and scope of the horse community."

Farm or ranch owners that participated in the last census in 2007 will automatically be mailed a survey. If a farm or ranch was not part of the 2007 census and has not received a form in the mail, the owner can go to the USDA's census website,, to register.

Further information on the 2012 Census of Agriculture can be found at USDA website. Farmers and ranchers should receive a census form in the mail by early January, and completed forms are due by Feb. 4, 2013, the AHC noted.

"Members of the horse community need to understand that even if they have a very small farm or ranch they still qualify to take part in the census," Hickey said. "If you made $1,000 from selling horses, stud fees, or some other equine activity, you should participate.

"If you made $1,000 from any combination of agricultural activity and have horses on the property, you should participate and list those horses."