The National Agricultural Statistics Service announced that they have made reductions to the number of surveys and reports they conduct. Eleven reports have been eliminated and three have been reduce in the frequency that they will be released. NASS spokesperson Sue DuPont says the Agricultural Statistics Board carefully considered the programs, but with budget cuts occurring in the last fiscal year and more coming as this fiscal year begins some changes needed to be made.
"We really had to look at our programs hard in that light," DuPont said. "Because of the way NASS works in surveys, we needed to take some actions now so that we could meet our budget. Last year we didn't have a budget until April and we wouldn't be able to make reductions if we had to wait that late."
The eleven programs that have been eliminated are:
- Annual Reports on Farm Numbers, Land in Farms and Livestock Operations
- Catfish and Trout Reports
- Annual Floriculture Report
- January Sheep and Goat Report
- July Cattle Report
- Distiller CoProducts for Feed Survey
- Annual Bee and Honey Report
- Annual Hops Production Report
- Annual Mink Report
- Nursery Report
- Rice Stocks June and September Reports
The Fruit and Vegetable Forecast and Estimates will be reduced from monthly and quarterly to an annual report; the Monthly Potato Stocks Report will be reduced from monthly to quarterly; and the Chemical Use Reports will be reduced in frequency.
"None of these are easy actions to take but with the Federal budget situation being what it is they are necessary moves," DuPont said. "There will be impacts to the industry but we will be providing information on a little less frequent basis but hopefully equally as useful, and accurate and timely for folks."
DuPont does say that there will be some data available in the eliminated programs, primarily from the five year Census of Agriculture. She says that NASS is already gearing up for the next Census of Agriculture and trying to draw attention to it. Surveys will go out in December 2012 for that crop year. DuPont says that the Census will be even more important this time around because of these reductions.
"We hope the farmers and ranchers will respond to the survey and understand the importance of it," DuPont said.