The $50,000 it costs to produce a report seems like a lot, but not when compared to the billions the USDA spends on support payments
Last week, William Neuman wrote about an announcement by the USDA's statistical research unit that, under pressures to cut budget, it would eliminate or cut back on its ongoing research reports.
This is alarming.
As USDA explained:
The decision to eliminate or reduce these reports was not made lightly, but it was nevertheless necessary, given the funding situation. Because of the timing of the agency's survey work during the coming year, these decisions are necessary now.
The affected reports include these, among others:
- Annual Reports on Farm Numbers, Land in Farms and Livestock Operations -- Eliminate
- Catfish and Trout Reports -- Eliminate all
- Annual Floriculture Report -- Eliminate
- Chemical Use Reports -- Reduce frequency of commodity coverage
- Annual Bee and Honey Report -- Eliminate
- Fruit and Vegetable in-season forecast and estimates -- Reduce from monthly and quarterly to annual report
- Nursery Report -- Eliminate
This decision, Neuman reports, "reflects a cold-blooded assessment of the economic usefulness" -- translation: lack of political clout in the affected industry -- of the 500 or so reports issued by the National Agriculture Statistics Service each year. The reports will still be issued on the big commodities: corn, soybeans, cattle, and pigs, for example.