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First Agricultural Census in Eight Years

Agricultural Census: June 2002

First Agricultural Census in Eight Years

Details of the first agricultural production census to be held in eight years were announced today by Statistics New Zealand. The 2002 Census of Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry will provide up to date benchmark data, and will enable changes that have taken place in the agriculture sector to be measured.

Information to be collected in the census includes: details of land use; number of farmed animals (including poultry); number of animals born; area of fruit, nuts and tree crops planted; area of other crops harvested; forestry planting and harvesting; area of land irrigated; area and type of organic farming; application of fertiliser; and leasing of Mäori-owned land.

The 2002 Agricultural Census, which is being conducted jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, will commence with a staggered post-out of the questionnaire to farmers, horticulturists and foresters on 27 June, with all questionnaires being posted by mid-July 2002.

The 2002 Agricultural Census marks the reinstatement of a regular cycle of censuses and surveys as part of the agriculture production statistics programme. Government Statistician, Brian Pink, emphasised the importance of having up-to-date information on agriculture, and noted that the cooperation and goodwill of all farmers is needed to produce high-quality agricultural statistics. "It is critical that both farmers and government know about the changes occurring in the sector," said Mr Pink. "I appreciate the time and effort farmers and growers will put into completing the questionnaires and thank them for this."

Provisional results from the 2002 Census of Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry are planned for release in February 2003. More detailed information, including regional information, will become available in May 2003. The data will be used by central and local government for economic forecasting, trade negotiations, regional planning and policy development; and by businesses in their planning and decisions on investment. The census will provide information to all New Zealanders about the farming sector and its importance in our economy.

Farmers, horticulturists and foresters are being urged to return their questionnaires promptly and to advise Statistics New Zealand of any changes of farm ownership. "The usefulness of agricultural statistics over time relies on having a complete and up to date list of agricultural businesses," said Mr Pink.

Farmers seeking further information about the census can either email Statistics New Zealand at or phone us (toll free) on 0800 333 104.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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