Lawmakers ask USDA to reinstate county crop reports Sarah Gonzalez May 9, 2024

Lawmakers ask USDA to reinstate county crop reports

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and House Agriculture Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee Chairman Tracey Mann, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Jim Costa, D-Calif., led a May 3 letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to reinstate county crop reports recently discontinued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

NGFA worked with other agricultural groups to gain signatures on the letter from 70 lawmakers.

Citing budget constraints, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) NASS announced on April 9 that it would discontinue all county estimates for crops and livestock beginning with the 2024 production year.

“The reports slated for discontinuation are highly valuable to the entire U.S. agricultural sector, and particularly for cattle, cotton, and grain,” said the lawmakers. “Relatedly, the reports offer a great deal of transparency and market anticipation for the entire agricultural sector.”

The letter added: “While we recognize that NASS has seen a modest year-over-year appropriations reduction, we hold that the costs to industry will be more adverse than the cost-savings NASS may realize through cessation of these reports.”

In addition to NGFA, the letter was supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Cotton Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, Beef Alliance, and the American Livestock Markets and Dealers Association.

In the press release announcing the letter, the lawmakers quoted NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert: “We appreciate Rep. Mann’s leadership and lawmakers’ recognition of the highly valuable nature of these reports to the entire U.S. agricultural value chain. NASS county estimates are critical for the operation of agricultural businesses. They are used to build supply and demand estimates, which help determine commodity sourcing plans to keep agribusiness facilities operational. The knowledge the reports provide contributes to an efficient and nimble supply chain. NGFA members, including agricultural exporters, processors, and livestock feeders rely on these reports to participate in the export sales market and to make appropriate purchase decisions.”

NASS Webinar: Meanwhile, NASS hosted a webinar on May 8 highlighting alternative data available for the recently discontinued programs. A recording of that webinar is available here.