NSW producers urged to return Agricultural Census forms, 2006

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September 25, 2006
Embargoed 11.30am (AEST)
NSW producers urged to return Agricultural Census forms

Agricultural producers in New South Wales are being asked to assist their industry and return outstanding Agricultural Census forms to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as soon as possible. To facilitate this, the ABS has begun phoning or contacting by mail all producers who have not yet returned their questionnaire.

While response in New South Wales has been good there are still a significant number of outstanding Census forms, particularly from vegetable and cotton growers.

"Every form is important to develop a complete and accurate picture of agriculture in NSW so we are making every effort to ensure everyone contributes," advised Gemma Van Halderen, head of the Agriculture Statistics Program at the ABS.

The results of the Agricultural Census are used by industry and government to enhance local infrastructure, support claims for exceptional circumstances assistance, develop R&D programs and bid for new export contracts.

Industry groups are encouraging producers to act now. Ian James, Chief Economist at AUSVEG, says he is concerned that anything short of a full response may disadvantage the industry. "We need all growers responding so we have reliable data for our R & D and the best information on which to base claims for industry support," he said.

The cotton industry is also encouraging growers to respond. "This sort of information is essential to monitor developments in our industry," said Ralph Leutton Program Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Cotton Australia.

Information collected in the Agricultural Census is confidential. The ABS is interested in data about the community as a whole and only summary information is released.

The 2006 Agricultural Census forms were due back by mid July. The initial results are due to be released early next year.