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Preparing farmers for the 2005-06 Agricultural Census (Media Release), 17 May 2006
 
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MEDIA RELEASE

May 17, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
41/2006
Preparing farmers for the 2005-06 Agricultural Census

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) staff will visit cyclone-ravaged North Queensland to determine how the ABS can best assist farmers be counted in the 2005-06 Agricultural Census.

The Agricultural Census is Australia's largest collection of agricultural statistics and is held every five years. It differs from the population census because forms will be posted to 190,000 businesses, rather than delivered and collected in person. Forms are scheduled to be despatched in June.

Head of the Agriculture Statistics program at the ABS, Gemma Van Halderen, says that the Agricultural Census is a national collection and the ABS will be seeking to ease the burden on respondents hit by the cyclone.

"We are looking at how to best assist farmers in North Queensland to provide information about their 2005-06 agricultural production for inclusion in the Agricultural Census," Ms Van Halderen said.

A telephone help-line will be available, as well as extensive information on the Agricultural Census website <www.abs.gov.au/about/agriculture>.

"It is important to capture the production for the whole 2005-06 period so that losses caused by the cyclones are accurately represented in the Agricultural Census figures."

Data from the 2001 Agricultural Census was used in the days following Cyclone Larry to provide an indication of the value of agricultural production before the cyclone hit.

The greater region affected by Cyclones Larry and Monica normally produces over $1 billion worth of agricultural commodities annually. These include sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, potatoes and livestock. This is about 15% of Queensland's agricultural output, and therefore is integral to any agricultural collection.

Ms Van Halderen added: "the ABS will be looking to ensure all primary producers have the opportunity to make their farm count in the upcoming collection."



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