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Economists Give USDA Tips on Improving Reports


Darrel GoodThree professors at the University of Illinois – including Ag Economist Darrel Good – have released an evaluation and recommendations for improving USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Crop Production and quarterly Grain Stocks reports. The research was requested and funded by USDA. According to USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber – some of those recommendations will be easier to implement than others. In fact – Glauber believes USDA can get to work on some of them very quickly. Others will take more time. Determining the feasibility of a feed use survey for corn is one that will take some time. The University of Illinois professors found that large, unresolved sampling errors in January Crop Production in 2009, 2010 and 2012 most likely caused distortions in the Grain Stocks report for corn. They suggested USDA look into conducting a feed survey to better help reconcile the feed and residual category on the corn balance sheet. The economists suggested – due to the diversity of the feeding industry – that USDA consider taking advantage of consolidation in the livestock industry and sample the largest feeders in each of the major species. Glauber says the economists have given the department a lot to consider moving forward. He notes the department will have to determine what can reasonably be done and what it will cost.

Other suggestions focused on increasing transparency around how the World Agricultural Outlook Board arrives at its yield estimates for the May, June and July WASDE reports and how NASS arrives at its yield estimates. According to Glauber – the board already had methodology documents – but they aren’t highlighted by the agency. He says those documents will likely be published on the Internet and linked to in the footnotes of future WASDE reports.

For more on the suggestions from the University of Illinois economists – visit farmdocdaily dot Illinois dot edu (https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu). They were posted January 17th.

 Source: NAFB News service