Lawmakers Pressure USDA to Restore July Cattle Report, County Level Estimates

[[{“value”:”USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.


Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are pressuring USDA in response to the agency’s announcement they’re no longer issuing some important reports later this summer.

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) cited budget restraints when it announced recently that it would stop producing several reports, including the July Cattle Report, the Cotton Objective Yield Survey, and County Estimates for Crops and Livestock reports.

Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS-01), who is also Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, is among the lawmakers who are leading the charge to get a turnaround from NASS.

“They did not let us know in advance; They just made this announcement. As someone that grew up on a farm, I know firsthand we rely on this data. This information, producers need it,” Mann said in an interview. “There has been no good reason that USDA has given for not putting this report together, so we are pushing. We’re leaning hard on them to do what they ought to do and that’s issue these reports here in July.”

The reports provide transparent livestock, grain, and fiber market insights for American farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers. These insights help them effectively manage risk, build supply and demand estimates, and determine plans for commodity sourcing to remain operational. Mann stressed the importance of these reports for ag businesses.

“It means that they are having to make very large business decisions, marketing decisions, without the information. The markets rely on this data so that markets work,” Mann continued. “Markets work and function in many ways. Good data is one of the bedrocks or the keystones to functioning, appropriate markets. And to just withdraw and prevent this information from being assembled when we know the USD has the staff, they have the people they’ve been doing it for decades, [it’s] very, very disappointing. Actually, [it’s] infuriating that this is the action that they’ve taken, which is why we are pushing back and doing everything that we can do to get them to convince them to reverse course.”

Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-21), and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) joined Mann in penning the letter. About another 70 lawmakers have signed on—including Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).

Click HERE to read Rep. Mann’s letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.