MADISON, Wis. —
Galen said he's not aware of any other entities that produce the data dairy farmers need. His organization plans to send a letter to NASS officials seeking a better explanation and justification for eliminating those reports.
NASS spokeswoman Stephanie Chan didn't immediately reply to an email seeking a response from the agency.
NASS also cancelled its July cattle report, which it has produced since 1973. Cattlemen said that would have less impact than some other cuts, such as furloughing meat inspectors. Ranchers sometimes use the July report to adjust their marketing plans, and it can be a tool for those running feedlots, where cattle go for final fattening before slaughter, said Joe Parker, president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. But a January inventory report, which gives a state-by-state breakdown, is more helpful.
"The industry gets a better idea of the inventory location and the movement of that inventory," he said. "We sure would like to keep (the July report) but we should be able to adjust without it."
Other reports that won't come out this year include those on catfish, potatoes, lentils, rice, nuts and some fruit and vegetables.
USDA officials announced in 2011 that they planned to eliminate 14 crop and livestock reports to save $10 million. Farmers complained they would be left guessing how much to produce and when to sell. The agency reversed itself two months later, saying operational improvements had helped free up money to reinstate the reports.