The National Agriculture Statistics Service recently announced plans to drop some of its statistical reporting load, citing a tight budget. Last week the agency reinstated several reports, stating flexibility within its budget permits it to retain and reinstate several key reports.
The reinstated programs include: annual reports on farm numbers, land in farms reports and farm income; January sheep and goat report; July cattle report; annual bee and honey report; and rice stocks June report.
"We're really pleased to be able to do it, to reinstate these programs," said NASS's Sue DuPont. "Our priority is the products and services that we provide to the industry. We didn't want to reduce them, and we're really pleased to be able to bring them back."
Part of the reason for the initial reduction in the number of reports was budgetary considerations. The recent passage of agricultural appropriations bill provided more money than was expected. The reinstatements came following a deliberate review of all programs against mission- and user-based criteria. The NASS leadership says their goal was to find cost savings and forward-thinking business efficiencies so that timely, accurate and useful data remains available in service to agriculture.
In 2011, NASS made several enhancements within its programs and operations to deliver improved results for the American people, including opening a new national operations center in St. Louis that will centralize data collection and service to people who provide and use NASS products and services. DuPont says these moves to streamline the operations contributed to the reinstatement of the programs.
Recognizing the importance of NASS's data products and services to U.S. agriculture, NASS will make available any data that falls outside of the scope of the agricultural estimates programs in the 5-year Census of Agriculture. The next census will be conducted beginning January 2013 to reflect activities in the 2012 calendar year.
NASS will publish Federal Register notices reflecting these program changes in the near future.