September 5, 2013 — Congress is going to go back into session next week with a lot to do, especially with the situation in Syria taking center stage right now, but one piece of good news is the push for a complete milk production report. This is something that the dairy industry has been lacking since the sequester. National Milk’s Chris Galen talked about it on Thursday’s DairyLine:
Back in March when the entire federal government had to confront the budget sequester and look for ways to cut spending, one of the victims of that was the monthly milk production report, and USDA had proposed completely eliminating that,” said Galen. “We were very concerned because that monthly data is an important part of the price discovery process in the dairy industry. After that initial announcement back in March, the USDA decided to revisit the situation, and they came up with a way to still put together estimated milk production, which they’ve been issuing now every month.
But one thing that they did eliminate because of the budget cuts was the quarterly production surveys from individual farmers, which really provides a reality check on milk production trends. So the good news is that Last week, the USDA announced that starting in October, which brings us a new fiscal year in the federal government, NASS is going to resume its quarterly producer surveys, and that’s going to result in more data being available in the new fiscal year after the start of next month.
We’re going to have much better data now with dairy cow numbers, milk per cow, production statistics. All of that will once again be available, and that will help augment some of the data that has still been put together by the USDA over the past six months, which they have cobbled together from other sources including federal milk marketing order data, check-off collection data, that sort of thing,” explains Galen. “So, that’s one of the good news items here around the end of the fiscal year. There is still, of course, a big battle brewing in Congress regarding the budgets for the coming fiscal year and the debt ceiling, but at least we’ve got some sliver of good information here recently regarding one thing that will pick up again for the dairy industry starting with October first.
Chris Galen is Senior Vice President of Communications with the National Milk Producers Federation