As families in the U.S. prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the USDA is raising awareness of the role played by the nation's growers and farmers.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service says U.S. farmers, in addition to the essential turkeys they raise, will also grow 768 million pounds of cranberries and 47 billion pounds of potatoes.
According to the most recent NASS data, producers also grew 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins and 1.9 billion pounds of green beans. NASS Census and Survey Division Director Renee Picanso notes the modernization of agriculture has tremendously changed the landscape of farming from the first Thanksgiving feast nearly four centuries ago.
The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years to provide a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, expenditures and other topics. The information gathered is used by governments, agribusinesses and trade associations.
NASS will mail census forms in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013.