In mid-December the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS) launched its horticultural census of 2014. The goal of this census-taking is to provide a comprehensive illustration of the country’s horticultural sector. This survey is the sole source of information regarding production and sales data for U.S. floriculture, nursery and specialty crops, including greenhouse food crops.
This survey builds upon the recently completed census of agriculture and will provide the first, much speculated upon, updates on horticultural industry since 2009. The agricultural census estimated the value of the horticultural industry at upwards of $14.5 billion in 2012, indicating its importance to the economy. Information gained from the 2014 census of horticulture will be used to develop new technologies, encourage growth and support sustainability of this sector.
Approximately 40,000 surveys were mailed by out by NASS in mid-December 2014 to horticultural operations in the U.S. which grew and sold more than $10,000 worth of horticultural products, according to the 2012 census. The surveys ask producers to provide information regarding any horticultural activities conducted in 2014, including: production of crops, products’ value, square footage used for growing, expenses and more. Hard-copy questionnaires can be returned via mail by February 5, 2015 or growers can securely answer questions online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly emphasizes the importance of this survey and responses, “The opportunity to respond to the Census of Horticulture only comes along once every five years. Participation is important because it’s a unique opportunity to help improve production methods, marketing tactics and other industry developments over the next several years.”