84 percent of state farmers return census

State officials say there was a strong response from Wisconsin farmers who provided valuable census information.

Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel says 84 percent of Wisconsin farmers completed and returned their census forms. That’s third best in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts the census every five years. It provides data on agricultural land use, production practices, income and expenditures. Agricultural organizations and government officials use the information to make decisions about rural services and farm programs.

State statistician Greg Bussler companies and cooperatives also use census data to determine where to locate facilities to help farmers market their products or access machinery and chemicals necessary to farm.

Census data will begin to be released in February 2014. Individual information collected is kept confidential.