Farmers and Ranchers will find the 2021 Census of Agriculture information showing up in their mailbox shortly.

The information is key especially given the COVID situation, with the Agriculture sector being a vital part of the supply chain.

Augustine Akuoko-Asibey, a Director in the Agriculture Division of Statistics Canada says the information in the Census is used in a variety of ways.

"For instance, we use the census data to support farmers and farm operators when it comes to support directly either in direct payments or through various programs that support the industry."

The information is also used to defend farmers interests in trade disputes and negotiations.

He says producers will notice a change in the census this year when it comes to the definition of a farm operator.

"Unlike in the 2016 census, where we defined an operator as somebody producing agricultural product with the intention to sell. We have moved away from that concept of intention to sell, and right now we are focusing on producing an agricultural product, and you are reporting revenue as functions to the Canada Revenue Agency."

He notes this year they have also identified areas of new and emerging crops and livestock as well with information on that available on the website.

Akuoko-Asibey acknowledges that timing for the Ag Census isn't perfect with farmers busy in the field, but they have made some provisions for that as farmers and ranchers have until September 3rd to complete the Census of Agriculture.

"If we do the Census of Agriculture separate from the Census of Population, it will cost us another $12 million more to be able to provide the data on the Census of Agriculture. So since we know that it's a really busy time for farmers, we for this cycle, we have provided our farmers the flexibility in how and when they can respond."

The last Census of Agriculture was done in 2016 it counted 193,492 farms which had showed that the decline in the number of farms had slowed, compared with previous census data.