Maryland farmers can help shape the future of agriculture by responding to the 2007 Census of Agriculture report form when it arrives in their mailboxes this month.
Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture every five years, the census is a complete count of the nation's farms and the people who operate them.
It looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics.
The census provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation. It is used by policymakers, community planners, businesses and farmers for various programs, projects and planning.
Completed forms are due by Feb. 4. Producers can return their forms by mail or fill out the census online at www.mda.state.md.us.
Foundation holds poster contest
The Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation is holding its second Agriculture in Maryland Calendar Poster Contest.
The contest is open to all public, private and home-schooled students in kindergarten through grade 12.
Winners will receive $50 awards, and their artwork will appear on the 2008-2009 foundation calendar. Honorable mention artwork will also be selected.
The contest allows students to use their artistic talents to share their understanding of the diversity of Maryland agriculture and the impact agriculture has on daily life.
The deadline for entries is April 15. For an entry form and information, visit the foundation's Web site, www.maefonline.com.