Ag reports coming, participation needed

Feb 14, 2014

—NASS seeks participation, announces reports’ return

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has announced two important data-keeping moves. On the one hand, the Prospective Plantings report is on the horizon and needs producer participation, and on the other hand, it has announced that some of the previously sequesterended agricultural reports will be reinstated.

“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions of the year,” said NASS’ Northwest Regional Director, Christopher Mertz. “The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that underpins these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year.”

Survey questionnaires will be mailed out to U.S. farmers in late February. They will ask producers to provide information on the crops and acreage they plan to plant in 2014 among other things. Producers can respond via mail or internet, and producers who receive a survey but do not respond will be contacted for a telephone or personal interview.

The data collected will be compiled into the March 31 Prospective Plantings report. Information is confidential as required by law and only aggregate data is published.

The information provided by the surveys, which then goes into the data of the Prospective Plantings report, is very valuable to all elements of agriculture, given its impact on the markets. Anyone who receives a questionnaire is encouraged to complete it and return it to NASS, as doing so is a service to all of U.S. agriculture.

Reports returning

Last Wednesday, NASS announced the return of a number of previously-hiatused agricultural reports.

This comes on the heels of the passage of its budget by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014.

Among the returning reports is the July Cattle Report, which had been canceled in 2013 due to the sequestration. The most recent Cattle Report, released Jan. 31, showed some hope of herd rebuilding efforts, as well as decreased inventories of calves outside of feedlots. The return of the July Cattle Report will lend increased information to the markets and remove the uncertainty that comes with an annual, rather than biannual, inventory of available cattle.

The exact publishing dates of the reinstated reports are not yet available, but all NASS reports can be found online at nass.usda. gov/Publications/Reports_ By_Date/. — Kerry Halladay, WLJ Editor