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Deadline nears for US agriculture census

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia farmers have until the end of the month to help government officials get a better picture of agriculture in the state.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closes on May 31.

The Census of Agriculture takes place every five years. It is a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

The last national agricultural census was in 2007. The census is based on the 2012 production year.

The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation.

Officials say federal and state leaders use the information to make policy decisions that have substantial impacts on agriculture.