Nebraska Farm Bureau Sends Letter to USDA on Loss of NASS Reports 

This week, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue sent a letter to USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young expressing concern over their recent decision to discontinue several important areas of data collection and reporting including its July cattle inventory survey and all county-level estimates for crops and livestock. Secretary Vilsack and others at USDA have blamed congressional appropriators for funding reductions which led to the cancelation of these important agricultural production data reports. However, the loss of this information, especially the July cattle report, could pose a significant threat to market transparency. “The decision to discontinue the July Cattle report flies in the face of considerable discussion and debate over cattle market transparency. Time and again, USDA has pledged to improve market function and transparency, and has introduced some needed tools for cattle producers, including the cattle contract library. However, the announcement to cancel one of the foundational reports that cattle producers, market analysis, and university researchers rely upon is completely counterintuitive to the effort to increase transparency and competition,” McHargue said. The letter also highlights how the loss of county-level crop and livestock estimates will impact research. “County crop and livestock production and yield estimates are also foundational data points for markets and particularly for the sort of research that agriculture relies on,” McHargue said. Nebraska Farm Bureau is asking USDA to use all available budgetary tools at its disposal to find the funding to reinstate these important venues of agricultural production data. 

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