Farmers and ranchers across the nation who missed the deadline for the 2012 Census of Agriculture are in luck. After thanking the 1.4 million people who turned in their Census forms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wednesday encouraged those farmers who have not yet turned in their questionnaire to do so as soon as possible.

The information in the Census is used to help the USDA monitor trends and better understand agriculture’s needs.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reports that all of the information collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) through the Census of Agriculture will be kept confidential but will be used to provide detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture.

“Providing industry stakeholders, community leaders, lawmakers and individual farm operators with the most comprehensive and accurate U.S. agricultural reports, we all help ensure the tools are available to make informed, sound decisions to protect the future of American agriculture,” Vilsack said. 

The Census is conducted every five years by the USDA and looks at land use, ownership, production processes, expenditures and other factors, according to the USDA.

The deadline to turn in the form was Feb. 4; however, the USDA reports that anyone who did not return the form by the due date will receive another copy in the mail to fill out and return. Farmers also may fill out their Census of Agriculture online at