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NASS Outreach Efforts to Hard to Reach Respondents of the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture
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*Cedric L. Reddick, USDA/NASS 
Dan Beckler, USDA/NASS 

Keywords: underserved, socially disadvantaged, COA, NASS, outreach

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts the Census of Agriculture (COA) every five years. The COA is the only source of comprehensive demographic and county level information about America’s farmers and ranchers. A successful COA requires access to and participation from all segments of agriculture.

Some segments of production agriculture are designated as “hard-to-reach.” Cultural differences, lack of information and negative attitudes towards government can make it challenging for NASS to be as inclusionary as necessary in conducting the COA. To compensate, NASS implemented a multi-faceted outreach program for the 2007 COA that targeted “hard-to-reach” operators, also referred to as “minority”, “underserved” or “socially disadvantaged” for the purposes of this paper. This paper will discuss the various outreach activities that were developed and implemented, and lessons learned from these endeavors. These activities involved collaborations with a number of organizations to gain trust and cooperation from these operators, including minority groups and contacts, as well as other government agencies.

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