Milk production report suspended

Mar 15, 2013


USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is suspending a number of statistical surveys and reports for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Blaming reduced funding caused by sequestration, two ag-related reports are causing a stir.

The agency posted the notice on the web last Tuesday, saying it would suspend 10 reports because of the $85 billion in across-theboard federal spending cuts that went into effect earlier this month. The notice offered few details of explanation, other than that the decision “was not made lightly, but it was nevertheless necessary, given the funding situation.”

The notice said that before USDA decided on the suspensions, NASS reviewed its survey programs against mission- and userbased criteria as well as the amount of time remaining in the fiscal year to conduct the surveys with the goal of finding available cost savings and maintaining the strongest data in service to agriculture.

The budget cuts cost NASS’ agricultural estimates program $5.9 million, agency officials said.

The reports being suspended this year include the agency’s July Cattle Report, which is used by the beef industry, and the Milk Production Report.

The July cattle report has been produced since 1973. While a furlough on meat inspectors will have a much larger impact, the report is often used by ranchers to adjust marketing plans midyear.

While producers would like to keep it, there are still a number of useful reports for the beef industry. Dairy producers are looking at the loss a little differently.

“Eliminating the USDA’s monthly milk production report through September will detrimentally affect how decisions are made about the marketing of milk, starting at, but not ending with, the farm level,” said National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) president and CEO Jerry Kozak.

“This report is important for ongoing industry outlook purposes, and it’s also an essential input for estimating the monthly commercial disappearance of all dairy products, which is of importance to the dairy promotion program,” Kozak said.

He noted that among the other NASS report suspensions, “Dairy is the only major commodity that will be substantially affected. The July Cattle report consists of a mid-year update of the January Cattle report, which is obviously not affected by the current fiscal year suspension, and other NASS reports will continue to report non-dairy cattle inventory information.”

“This decision is a concern to NMPF as well as to the entire dairy industry, and we will need to have further discussions with USDA about why an extremely important informational tool involving a major commodity is being affected this way.”

Reports suspended:

All Catfish and Trout Reports including Catfish Feed Deliveries and Catfish Processing

July Cattle Report

Potato Stocks Reports

All Non-Citrus Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Forecasts and Estimates

June Rice Stocks Report

All Hops and Hops Stocks Estimates

Mink Report Milk Production Reports including Production, Disposition and Income

June on- and off-farm stocks for Austrian Winter Peas, Chickpeas, Dry Peas and Lentils

July acreage forecasts for Austrian Winter Peas, Dry Edible Peas and Lentils — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor