April 5, 2013 — Earlier this year, USDA announced it would suspend its monthly Milk Production report due to forced budget cuts, but now the agency said it will resume a slimmed-down version of the report through the end of fiscal year 2013. DairyBusiness Update’s Dave Natzke reported on Friday’s DairyLine:
The Milk Production report was one of the victims as USDA sought to meet budget sequestration demands approved by Congress earlier this year. The reports, which provide monthly estimates of milk production and cow numbers, were seen by many within the dairy industry as critical information for both dairy farmers and dairy product manufacturers, providing data on milk supply with an impact on market prices.
As you noted, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service this week said it will resume the report. However, the new report will be limited in scope, containing only monthly milk production estimates, which can be determined from other information USDA collects. The next report is scheduled for April 19.
USDA won’t be using regular surveys of dairy farmers, and therefore, won’t be providing estimates of the numbers of dairy cow on farms, and will also eliminate monthly milk production per cow information.
The partial reports will be released through September, and their future will likely depend on USDA budgets approved by Congress for fiscal year 2014.
Speaking of Congress, members of the House and Senate return from their Easter break next week, with debate on immigration reform and a new federal farm bill likely on their calendar.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who introduced a proposal called the Dairy Income Fairness Act in mid March, will join with Senator Susan Collins of Maine to introduce another piece of dairy policy in April. This bill, called the Dairy Pricing Reform Act, would require USDA to hold hearings on restructuring current pricing formulas used in federal milk marketing orders.
In addition, two bills – one in the House and one in the Senate – address the possibility of California joining the federal order system.