Survey says… Washington farmer-landowner relationships are important for on-farm conservation

In November, American Farmland Trust (AFT) released the Washington state fact sheet summarizing results from its Non-Operating Landowners (NOLs) survey that surveyed individually or partnership-owned lands. This survey revealed that there is significant opportunity for increased conservation practices on rented land to improve soil quality.

Since farming on rented land is very common in King County, these results are particularly valuable for our farming community.

“AFT conducted this survey in 11 states to learn more about NOL and renter relationships, communication in those relationships, conservation attitudes and behaviors, and conservation and outreach needs,” said Courtney Naumann, AFT Pacific Northwest Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager. “These results will help us understand who we should reach out to engage in conversations around agricultural stewardship, and how we can best serve demographics who fall into a renter/owner role.”

2017 Census of Agriculture: Main takeaways for King County

The Census of Agriculture, conducted once every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a voluntary mail survey that counts the number of U.S. farms and ranches, and looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures.

The Census of Agriculture provides comprehensive agriculture data for every county in the nation. There are limitations to the Census due to the voluntary nature of the Census survey. Census surveys do not capture every farmer in the U.S., and the survey questions present categories that may not be relevant or applicable to every farmer.

However, the Census is currently the one of the best ways to glean countywide data about producers and the economic role of agriculture, which can influence decisions that will shape the future of agriculture in King County.