The Farm Census
POSTED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 5:36pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 10:09am
The census of agriculture is almost as old as the Republic.
But let’s be honest, it still bugs people.
The US Census is required by law and the Constitution.
It isn’t optional.
The first question on the US Census involving farming was in 1820.
In 1840, the first formal head count of farmers and their business was conducted.
It is mandatory under Title 7 of the United States code.
Since 1925, it has been conducted every five years, and now, it’s in every year ending in 2 or 7.
In 1997, the responsibility was turned over to the Department of Agriculture.
It is used to determine ag policy for the country, and Secretary Tom Vilsak says, in tough economic times, they need to be as efficient as possible.
But, even though the information is used only for statistical purposes, some have worried about privacy issues.
Like George Burton, Owner of C. Woods Company.
“With all that’s been in the news,” Burton says, “the concerns about, hey, the government is like crazy ants, just getting into everything. And I didn’t think it was any of their business how many horses or cows I had.”
The Department says it can’t be used for purposes of taxation, regulation and is protected against Freedom of Information requests.
But some folks still resent the intrusion.
“They finally quit calling,” he said, “and said we’ll have to come by, so we’ll see. Because I haven’t filled it out and am probably not going to.”
And though George was reassured the census is legitimate…he still doesn’t plan to participate.
“If it’s normal, I’m good with it,” Burton told me. “Still not going to fill it out. It still bugs me. I’m still skeptical of the government.”
Though, the census is clearly outlined in the Constitution, it seems to require periodic explanation.
But there’s no doubt, personal questions from Uncle Sam still rankle a lot of folks.`````