USDA's Numbers Questioned by AFBF

Group is asking NASS for answers about reporting procedures.

Published on: Jul 19, 2011

The nation's largest farm organization is joining the chorus of those questioning recent crop report data from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. During the annual Council of Presidents meeting last week in Washington the American Farm Bureau Federation decided it would communicate its concerns directly with NASS.

Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock says they'll ask the administrator to take a closer look at their reporting procedure, techniques and technology.

"There were quite a few presidents speaking about the crop report shaking their heads and asking how this could be," Villwock said. "So we're going to send a letter, AFBF is, to the NASS administrator and ask if it's the budget preventing them from doing a better job or are they being asked to do something that is not feasible."

Farm Bureau is also wondering why NASS can't partner with the Farm Service Agency, which receives actual acres planted from every farmer by July 15.

"Why would you guess on June 30 and within 15 days you're going have a hard number is going to be downloaded onto a USDA computer that you ought to have access to get the real numbers," Villwock said.

Villwock says many of the crop reports from state presidents were unbelievably negative.

"Western Kansas is almost like the Dust Bowl," Willwock said. "Folks are starting to liquidate livestock herds in Texas because of lack of pasture and hay starting to become short and fear that massive liquidations could start to take place latter on this summer if they don't get relief. The president of Ohio talks about all the unplanted acres there, the Missouri Farm Bureau talks about the levy situation and how tragic that was and the number of acres destroyed."

Add unplanted acres from other states and Farm Bureau has just decided the USDA numbers don't add up.