Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Data: Census of Agriculture

Most of us are familiar with the U.S. Census that tracks characteristics of our population, such as age, race, and income, but did you know there is also an agricultural census that will tell you how many acres of asparagus were harvested, how many turkeys were sold, how much money was spent on fertilizer, or the percent of farms with high-speed internet access?

The Census of Agriculture website provides public access to data to answer these questions and more.  Every five years, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts the Census of Agriculture, which generates a complete count of farms and ranches in the U.S.  Data is also collected on crops, livestock, economics, and farm operators.  Over the next few years, special interest reports will become available on irrigation, specialty crops, organic production, on-farm renewable energy production, aquaculture, and land economics.

In addition to downloading the 2007 Census of Agriculture Full Report, website visitors can use Quick Stats 2.0 Beta to quickly query the data and download the results in tabular form to be imported into GIS software, or even map the results directly within the Quick Stats browser interface.

For those without access to GIS, the Agricultural Atlas contains maps of all of the data tables in the Census.  Historical census publications are also available on the website dating back to 1840.

Check back tomorrow for some fun maps created using the 2007 Census of Agriculture data!