March 27, 2013
The USDA “census of agriculture” is a government-run farm surveillance program designed to register and inventory detailed private data on farm assets, operations and personnel. A census form is mailed to each farmer in the United States, accompanied by threats of compliance and a warning that farmers who do not comply will be visited in person by government agents.
These agricultural census forms — see a link to a scanned copy below — demands farmers reveal the following information, all of which is compiled into a vast government database:
• # of acres of land owned
• Physical location of the land
• # of acres of croplands harvested
• # of acres of pasture land
• # of acres leased for cash
• # of acres irrigated
• How much money you’ve received from state or federal agricultural programs
• The exact number of acres grown and harvested for each crop: corn, oats, peanuts, cotton, rice, soybeans, wheat and many more
• # of acres of hey or forage crops
• # of acres used for Christmas trees or maple syrup
• Detailed inventory of your greenhouses, vegetable seeds, mushrooms and “propagative materials”
• Detail inventory of tobacco plants, berries, aquatic plants, sod, flowering plants and more
• # of acres of beans, cantaloupes, potatoes, corn and various melons
• # of acres of various fruit and nut crops including apples, grapes and pears
• The total dollar value of all the crops you sold
• Detailed inventory of berries, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and more
• Details on the number of cattle and calves
• Value of all cattle sold
• Details on pigs, horses, sheep, goats and other animals
• Details on aquaculture operations, including type of plants grown
• Details on poultry production, # of chickens, what kind, how much money, etc
• Details on bees, alpacas, bison, deer, elk, rabbits and more
• Full details on all production contracts including chicken eggs, feed, seed and more
• Full reporting of all income from farm-related sources
• Full details on all farm labor, how many people you hired, what you paid, etc.
• Grain storage capacity on your farm
• All production expenses: A full accouting of money spent, almost a full tax return all by itself
• Details on all fertilizers and chemicals applied to your farm
• Details on all organic food production
• The market value of all your land, machinery, buildings and equipment
• Details on all your tractors, what kind they are, how many horsepower, and all attachments
• Details on all sources of energy, including solar, wind, geoexchange, biodiesel and more
• Details on land use practices: erosion, conservation, cover crops and more
• Details on all your farming practices: crop rotations, reclamation projects, biomass harvesting, etc.
• Details on the dollar value of direct sales for human consumption
• The names and descriptions of all farm operators, including name, sex, age, race, hours of work and more
• Household income details
• Details of internet access
See a scanned copy of the full form (minus the first page) at:
All this information will be used to seize farms as already approved under Obama
Most Americans don’t yet realize that President Obama has already signed an executive order declaring government ownership and control over all farms, food, livestock, seeds, farm equipment and more. I’ve covered that news in full detail here:
The executive order is published at WhiteHouse.gov:
Just over a year ago, on March 16, 2012, President Obama issued this executive order entitled, “NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS.”
This executive order states that the President alone has the authority to take over all resources in the nation (labor, food, industry, etc.) as long as it is done “to promote the national defense” — a phrase so vague that it could mean practically anything.
The power to seize control and take over these resources is delegated to the following government authorities:
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;
(2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
Obama already asserts authority to seize your farm, greenhouse, livestock, seeds and grain
As is readily apparent, the executive order admits that the federal government can seize all farms, food, seeds, livestock and water resources any time it wants. The USDA agricultural census document provides the U.S. government with a “registration list” of all farms, seeds, tractors, livestock and water resources. It tells them what each farm possesses and exactly where to find it.
Remember, the U.S. government has already purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition and thousands of armored assault vehicles to use domestically, against the American people. The global economy stands on the verge of collapse, with food shortages almost certain to follow a banking collapse. Once that happens, starvation is only days away, and it’s not unreasonable to imagine the federal government using the USDA agricultural census database to compile a “seizure target list” of farms to raid for food, tractors, seeds and livestock.
No farmer in America is safe from the government. A government that wants to take away your rifle will have absolutely no hesitation taking away your farm. My advice is to refuse on both counts.
USDA census is a violation of Fifth Amendment right to remain silent
The USDA census is, of course, ridiculously invasive and onerous. It places an enormous burden on farmers to fill out the forms and derive financial numbers that are, frankly, private information. Legally speaking, the census forms are a violation of Fifth Amendment rights which say no American shall be forced to testify against himself.
Beyond the obvious invasion of privacy, census forms have become a frightening system of surveillance where the government pries into the private lives of innocent, hard-working farmers who are just trying to make a living by producing honest food. The government will obviously use this system to try to enforce its National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a federal animal tagging and tracking system that thrusts an onerous burden on farmers and ranchers.
The USDA, predictably, claims your data is all protected. “Once you fill out the Census, your personal information is protected by federal law. These laws require USDA to keep your identity and your answers completely confidential,” they claim on their website. (http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Help/FAQs/General_FAQs/)
But that’s a complete joke, of course, because in 1791 we were promised a Bill of Rights that said “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” yet it is routinely infringed by the federal government at every turn. Obama promised health insurance would become more affordable under Obamacare, but rates are actually set to double. The Fourth Amendment guarantees us a right to be safe in our person and our belongings, yet the TSA violates that every single day.
Let’s face it: the government lies. It uses coercion to try to force people to do its bidding. So a promise by the USDA that all your private financial data will be “protected by federal law” holds zero credibility. Especially when the top law enforcement official in the nation — Eric Holder — was himself engaged in illegal gun running that put thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs. When the government itself becomes the criminals, it’s hard to believe any promises of confidentiality.
Case in point: The Social Security Administration once promised your number would “never be used for identification.” Now it has become the de facto numerical ID of all Americans, without which you cannot hold a job or open a bank account. Governments LIE and routinely break promises.
People have good reason not to trust the government with their private data and personal farm details. In an age when the DHS is arming to the teeth while refusing to answer questions about why it’s buying enough ammunition to wage a 20-year war with the American people, we are wise to distrust government promises from any federal agency, including the USDA which routinely conspires with Monsanto.
It’s nobody’s business how many chickens or goats I’m raising
I raise chickens and goats, and it’s nobody’s business how many I care for. The USDA says that everybody with backyard chickens is a “farmer” under their control and therefore must fill out this form or face fines and a possible personal visit by government agents.
The USDA itself admits all this, saying:
Even if you do not believe you qualify as a farmer. You may be surprised to learn that a farm is defined as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the Census year. Many people who do not think of themselves as farmer actually meet the definition according to the Census. If you own horses, backyard chickens, large urban gardens, etc., you may qualify as a farmer.
Thus, by their own admission, even if you do not produce any food whatsoever, the mere act of living on a piece of land that COULD produce food makes you a farmer! If you have a “large urban garden” you must spy on yourself for the government!
If you refuse to fill out the form, the USDA will send government spies to your property to confront you in person. In their own words:
“For those who do not respond by April 5, NASS will begin following up by telephone and personal visits.”
Add yet, even though you are threatened with being visited by government agents for failing to fill out the form, the USDA admits their own website doesn’t even work much of the time and loses the information you’re trying to fill out:
We are experiencing intermittent connection issues and are working to resolve them as soon as possible. We understand that some respondents have lost their connection or received an error screen that does not allow them to return to the information they already entered. We greatly apologize for this inconvenience and we hope to have the problems resolved very soon. (SOURCE)
Furthermore, you are not allowed to answer any question with, “I don’t know.” As the USDA explains:
NASS does not provide an option for respondents to select “don’t know” because your best estimate is always better than “don’t know.”
Of course, the government can always imprison you for providing inaccurate information, so the mere act of attempting to fill out the form automatically makes you a criminal for reporting inaccurate financial data. It’s a catch-22: Refuse to fill out the form, and you earn a visit from government agents along with possible fines. Choose to fill out the form, and you incriminate yourself with possible felony violations for “lying to the government.” This is the crime that sent Martha Stewart to prison, by the way.
Read what farmers really think of the USDA and its census surveillance demands
Here’s some of what’s posted on the LocalHarvest.org forum:
USDA Census harassment
Has anyone else been hassled by USDA for refusing/neglecting to fill out their census form?
They kept sending me copies, and I kept throwing them away, because as we increasingly see, USDA fashions its every policy with an eye to promoting the interests of Corporate Ag while squashing small family farms.
In particular, given what we have seen of USDA’s lies, deception and coercion in pursuit of their disastrous NAIS policy, I do not trust them to honor their privacy assurances, but rather I expect they will use information from the census to feed into NAIS.
We know that they have lied to the public and to ag organizations about the NAIS policies, e.g. that the program is voluntary when it is in fact coercive, that it will benefit farmers when it would in fact destroy small family farms, etc. They have demanded that vendors of livestock feed require a NAIS “premises id number” or you can’t buy feed, in some locales.
NAIS is simply impossible for small, already overworked family farmers to comply with. It would subject anyone keeping any farm animals, even a couple of backyard chickens, to more scrutiny, intrusion and surveillance than a violent felon or convicted pedophile. The record-keeping and reporting requirements are unbelievable. If the strain of all this added time and labor is not enough to ruin family farms, the fees and potential fines for violating their stupid reporting requirements will finish the job.
So, I told this lady, I am not cooperating with USDA because of their anti-family- farm policies including GAP (see related thread), organic certification (see related thread), and especially NAIS. I told her I did not trust their “privacy” assurances.
She was nice enough but finally said, “I’m not threatening you, but a federal statute requires you to submit this census, and USDA can fine you. You’ll be getting letters from the USDA about this.”
This is outrageous. We need to be writing our congresspersons about the way USDA is being used to bludgeon family/small farms. We need to build public awareness about what is going on. Let your customers at your Market know, and urge them to talk to local, state, national officials about the desperate need to nurture, rather than impede, community-based agriculture.
I see this situation worsening by the month, as nanny state bureaucrats seem to be crawling out of the woodwork like so many termites. If we don’t get active and fight back, we are lost!
RE: USDA Census harassment
Yes, I too have been harassed by the USDA for not wanting to fill out their VERY lengthy survey about pretty much nothing..in my opinion. I too finally 1/2 filled one of the three they sent me with SOME of the information they needed to know. The rest was none of your business answers. I too was threatened with fines etc. Personally, I was sick of the mailings, letters, and phone calls!!!
There are two fines – one if you do not reply to it and another if you provide incorrect information (lie to them). So when I get this I write in bold letters “None of your business” on every page. Then on the last page I write “This is my response and its the truth.”
Yes, I also was harassed 3 times. Called the USDA the rep. said they would not enforce the fine. Finally got around to filling it out with several sections labeled “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS”.
This article was posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 5:24 am