OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Agriculture Department Chief Economist Seth Meyer on Friday here defended the decision of the Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service” decision to eliminate a cattle report and others.

At the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s 2024 Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference, Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at the StoneX Group, said that NASS’s decision, announced April 9, to cancel the July cattle report was “a real disappointment” and that his clients’ feedback was “rapid and sharp.”

Suderman said his clients had been reading the USDA budget online and came to the conclusion that USDA could have found money to continue the cattle report rather than some of the other activities in which it is engaged.

Traders around the world rely on USDA statistics and there is “a sense of betrayal” about this decision, Suderman said.

Suderman made the comments during a panel discussion titled “New Frontiers in Data and Information to Inform Futures Market Participants.”

“I think it is incredibly unfortunate that we will not have a midyear cattle report in the midst of a contraction in the cattle cycle and record highs in the fed cattle market, so there is a lot of value in that,” Meyer said.

But Meyer continued “I don’t like what NASS had to do,” explaining that NASS was given a certain amount of money and had to make cuts somewhere.

In its announcement, NASS said, “The decision to discontinue these surveys and reports was not made lightly, but was necessary, given appropriated budget levels.”

–The Hagstrom Report



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