January Crop Reports Delayed

USDA Announces Suspension of January Reports Until Federal Funding Resumes

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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USDA's has delayed the release of some major crop reports that had been pegged for a Jan. 11 release date. (DTN photo of NASS website)

OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA will have to delay its bevy of crop reports initially slated for release Jan. 11 as the partial government shutdown moves past its second week.

USDA announced on its website Friday morning: "Due to the lapse in federal funding, work on National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Office of the Chief Economist -- World Agricultural Outlook Board (OCE-WAOB) reports have been suspended since Dec. 22, 2018, and remain suspended.

"Given the lead time required for the analysis and compilation of Crop Production, Crop Production-Annual, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), Grain Stocks, Rice Stocks, Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings, and Cotton Ginnings reports, those reports will not be released on Jan. 11, 2019, as originally scheduled even if funding is restored before that date. The date of all NASS and OCE-WAOB releases will be determined and made public once funding has been restored."

Due to the January reports being suspended, DTN's webinar with Lead Analyst Todd Hultman that had been scheduled for 12 p.m. CST on Friday, Jan. 11, is postponed. Watch for rescheduling information once USDA announces a new release date for the reports.

The delay in the January reports marks the second time since the October 2013 federal government shutdown that USDA has been forced to delay or suspend monthly scheduled crop report figures.

During the shutdown, USDA also has halted the release of weekly export sales and daily export sales notices. That has left markets uncertain in terms of official confirmation of export business that typically would be released by USDA. USDA released the export sales data for the week ended Dec. 13 on Dec. 20. However, the agency has not released the weekly update since that time, meaning any export sales made since Dec. 14 have not been publicly confirmed by USDA.

A lot of the work by the National Agricultural Statistics Service for the Jan. 11 Crop Production and Quarterly Grain Stocks reports has already been done, but needs to be complied and analyzed. Most surveys for grain stocks and wheat seeding also were done the first two weeks in December, so USDA has the numbers but they may not have been tabulated before now. NASS could be the main determining factor on when some of those reports come out because of the time it takes for NASS staff to compile and analyze the data from those earlier surveys.

In another issue, the deadline for enrollment under the Market Facilitation Program is Jan. 15 and farmers who had delayed sign up until the holidays now have seen Farm Service Agency offices shutdown since Dec. 28. USDA has not announced whether it will extend the Jan. 15 enrollment deadline.

"The Secretary will be making that determination," was the only comment sent to DTN from USDA's press staff when asked about the possibility of an extension.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


Chris Clayton