USDA: American Indian Farmers and Ranchers Need to Stand Up and Be Counted
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service released the following notice urging Native farmers and rancheres to fill out their census reports.
Montana's American Indians contribute a significant amount to Montana agriculture! The 2007 Census of Agriculture showed that the number of American Indian operators whose primary occupation was agricultural production was more accurately represented with an increase of 40 percent from 2002 and American Indians far more that 4.8 million acres in Montana. Sales from American Indian farms totaled $89.9 million in 2007, with an average farm size of 2,415 acres.
As agricultural producers face the ever-changing challenges of extreme weather and unpredictable economic conditions, the need for information at the reservation level becomes even more important. Information provided at the reservation level supplies farmers and ranchers with the necessary tools to market agricultural products, apply for agricultural grants, expand reservation agriculture, and distribute resources to farmers and ranchers on reservations.
Every five years the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reaches out to producers across the country to conduct the Census of Agriculture. As with prior Census publications, Montana will publish reservation level data for each of our seven reservations.
NASS is mailing out Census forms to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013. Producers can return their forms by mail or online. For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call toll-free (888) 4AG-STAT or (888)424-7828.