NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Show calf breeder Monte Ramsey always prepares so that there will be enough show stock for the youngsters to exhibit at the Angelina County Fair. Planning skills stop when it comes to filling out the Census of Agriculture form.
"I don't know. I'm just lazy with a pencil or pen. And I'm not good about mailing stuff" said Ramsey.
Procrastinators are why Deep East Texas is in red on a USDA census response map.
Wilburt Hundl Jr, the man who oversees agriculture statistics for all of Texas and Oklahoma, wants Angelina County Agriculture Agent Cary Sims to encourage agriculture census participation. Sims is more than willing. He shares the question he always hears around census time.
"What's the benefit to producers?'"
Overtime the stats lead to money for entire communities, according to Hundl.
"Such as rural development. For waste water development, for municipalities, water districts that might be needed, the extension of broadband internet services for rural America," explained Hundl.
Rural America, or the lack of it, is why rancher Mark Chamblee was quick to fill out his agriculture census.
"A lot of the ranches are disappearing. Becoming housing communities. It's not like it used to be," said Chamblee.
The last agriculture census in 2012 showed the total number of farmers had declined.
Rancher James Young wants to be counted in 2018.
"If the government doesn't know what's going on out here in the world we're not going to get any help," said Young.
Demographers will soon be calling or making personal farm visits.
Go to www.agcensus.usda.gov to obtain information on the Census of Agriculture or call (800)727-9540.