Kansas Leaders Urge USDA to Restore NASS Surveys

The Kansas Delegation  in Washing DC, and 67 of their congressional colleagues authored a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, urging him to reverse the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to cancel or discontinue several National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports.

The reports provide American farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers with transparent livestock, grain, and fiber market insights as they position themselves to effectively manage risk and build supply and demand estimates, which help determine commodity sourcing plans to remain operational.

“The reports slated for discontinuation are highly valuable to the entire U.S. agricultural sector, and particularly for cattle, cotton, and grain. For example, the July Cattle report offers producers and market analysts key insights into herd size, calf crop, and heifer retention, all of which are paramount to making sound business and marketing decisions,” the members wrote in the letter. “Losing access to this report in 2016 would have sparked uncertainty in the livestock markets, and the same result would occur today. This would be especially unwelcome given the current period of cyclical herd contraction within the cattle industry.”

“The ASB identified budgetary constraints as justification for the decision to discontinue publication of these reports. 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,” the members wrote. “We ask that you work with Congress and industry stakeholders to seek alternative means of cost-cutting and urge the continued publication of the July Cattle report, Cotton Objective Yield Survey, and County Estimates for Crops and Livestock.”

The letter is supported by the National Grain and Feed Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Cotton Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, Beef Alliance, and Livestock Marketing and Dealers Association.