For the first time, the USDA will collect data on farmers growing hemp and using precision technology in the 2022 Census of Agriculture.
The agency began regulating hemp production in 2021, and this will be the first census to publish data on those producers, who grow the crop for fabric, food products, and CBD. The agency says it will also identify farmers who use “precision agriculture” data-collection technology that guides planting decisions.
About 70 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms responded to the 2017 census. Response rates in recent years have trended downward. Farmers are required by law to fill out the survey, but NASS has no enforcement mechanism.
Donald Buysse, chief of the census planning branch with NASS, says, “The incentive is the idea you’re providing data as a useful tool for your community.” USDA will collect responses until February 6 and publish the data in February 2024.