COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – An important mailer is about to go out and start showing up in mailboxes. It’s geared directly toward farmers.

The Ag Census is about to start, and it creates important information.

John Foster is a farmer in Columbiana County. His field of corn was being cut Friday when we caught up with him. It will feed animals and some of the corn will be used to make ethanol.

Next month, the Census of Agriculture will be mailed across America and Foster’s farm will be counted.

“The census of AG is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them,” said Cheryl Turner, a state statistician.

The Ag Census is done every five years, starting in years that end with the numbers 2 or 7. And the count is valuable for farmers. The statistics are used in putting together the Farm Bill and in other legislative and lobbying efforts.

“Farm life has changed a lot, too, and this is a way for us to show it,” Turner said.

Last year was excellent for corn and soybean yields in Ohio. Foster’s operation is 70 acres, but the Ag Census defines a farm as just $1,000 or more in sales or potential sales.

“People think if they’re small, that they don’t matter, but they do. They absolutely do,” Turner said.

Farmers can complete the Ag Census in the mail with a paper copy or online by February 6.

The findings can be critical for Ohio farmers of smaller crops such as maple syrup or green beans.

“If you want to show the importance of it and possibly get some money directed towards that commodity, complete your census,” Turner said.

Any farmer who wants to be sure they’re on the list can contact their local FSA Farm Service Agency.

Some of the new questions on the Ag Census, that weren’t there 10-15 years ago, deal with rural internet and broadband.