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Response Required by Law

December 8, 2017

A little while back, Mr. Karen and I got an odd piece of mail: the USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture. Our response was required by law, the envelope said. So we opened it, to find instructions about how to go to a website and enter our unique survey code to answer questions about our agricultural activity. (The letter also reiterated that our response was required by law.)

Census of Agriculture

So this morning before skiing, I went to the website and entered our code. When the survey loaded, I was surprised to find that I, not Mr. Karen, was listed as the operator of our agricultural enterprise. I then had to answer a series of questions to indicate I was not farming or ranching, that I did not plant, grow, or cultivate any crops or greenhouse or nursery items for sale, that I did not raise or produce any livestock, poultry, or animal specialties for sale or under contract, that I did not have 100 or more acres of pasture, and that I did not receive payments for participation in any farm programs. Then there was a multiple choice question where I was to select the situation that best described this operation; I chose “the operator never farmed or had any agricultural activity”.

I thought that would do it, but no, the next screen inquired if it was “possible that the agricultural activity information reported for this operation could also be reported by another operation”. I said no. I was not yet done. I was then asked if I, the operator, made any day-to-day decisions for another farm or ranch. Because it’s important to accurately report all of my farm and ranch operations, of course. Then I had to select what option best represents my role: Operator/Manager, Spouse, Accountant/Bookeeper, Partner, or Other. I could make a case for any of those, but went with Other. Then I was presented with a text box in case I had comments. I had comments. I thought it over and boiled them down to “the address to which this form was sent is a condo on a ski mountain”. Then I filled in my name and phone number and was done. I hope it was sufficient. I hope the USDA doesn’t show up at the door looking for unreported agricultural activity here.

Why we got this form is still a mystery. We’re guessing it’s because after we moved here full time and made it our primary residence, we changed categories for property tax and somehow that triggered it. We are surrounded by farms and ranches, so it’s not crazy that someone in this zip code would be doing the sorts of activities the form was interested in. We most certainly are not, though.


On this date in 2016: In the Land of the Mouse
2015: Work, Dress, Boots, Sport, Sandals, Other
2014: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Something
2013: No entry
2012: Photo of the Week
2011: That Narrows It Down
2010: Making a List
2009: Audrey in Flying Clothes
2008: Public Service Announcement
2007: No entry
2006: I Take It Back
2005: Wild Knitting
2004: My First Quilt
2003: Weekly Report Card
2002: No entry

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One Comment
  1. ARHuelsenbeck Says:

    Ya gotta love the government. Maybe the president can do something about these forms.

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