The Census of Agriculture, conducted once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures.

The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation. Through the Census of Agriculture, producers can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture and can influence decisions that will shape the future of U.S. agriculture.


Census of Agriculture data are used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities — federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and many others.

  • Farmers and ranchers can use Census of Agriculture data to make informed decisions about the future of their own operations.
  • Companies and cooperatives use the data to determine where to locate facilities that will serve agricultural producers.
  • Community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents.
  • Legislators use census data when shaping farm policies and programs.


The National Agricultural Statistics Service mailed 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaires to farm and ranch operators in December 2017 to collect data for the 2017 calendar year. They could respond online or by returning the completed questionnaire by mail. Responses were due by February 5, 2018. NASS sent reminder notices to those who did not respond and continued to accept responses until early August.

NASS is bound by law (Title 7, U.S. Code, and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act or CIPSEA, Public Law 107-347) – and pledges to every data provider – to use the information for statistical purposes only. NASS publishes only aggregated data, not individual or farm-specific data.