USDA Reconsiders Horticulture Census

June 29, 2007 - 08:46

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently decided its Census of Horticultural Specialties should be conducted more frequently. The census provides statistics on several agricultural segments, including floral and nursery, and will serve as a follow-up to the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, which surveys the state of the entire agriculture industry.

The Census of Horticulture survey provides vital details about the state of the industry, but it hasn’t been conducted for 10 years. It will now be conducted in 2009 and 2014.

“This effort is absolutely important because [the results of the census] will help us better understand what is being produced so that companies can adjust their plans accordingly,” said Lin Schmale, senior director of government relations for the Society of American Florists (SAF). “It also will help us more effectively present the overall value of our industry in agriculture, which is important when lobbying for increased research funding.”

Ira Silvergleit, SAF’s director of research and information, is a member of the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics, which made the recommendation to conduct the Census of Horticulture Specialties on a more regular basis. During the group’s meeting May 2-3, 2007, Silvergleit said the committee also decided to change how it addresses the floriculture and nursery segments in its Census of Agriculture. In order to collect more detailed information about the floriculture industry, the proposed Census of Agriculture once again will distinguish between individual producer segments: cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage, and bedding and garden plants.

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