via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
NASS directed to reconsider its decision to eliminate or reduce frequency of some reports
The first minibus spending conference report expected to be approved this week by both the House and Senate includes more funding for USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) relative to its recent elimination of some reports.
Details of funding boost. The conference agreement provides $158,616,000 for NASS instead of $149,500,000 as proposed by the House and $152,616,000 as proposed by the Senate. This includes $41,639,000 for the Census of Agriculture.
Background: On October 4, 2011, NASS announced it was eliminating or reducing the frequency of 14 reports. In an explanatory statement report, conferees said, "While it is imperative for all of USDA' s agencies and offices to prepare to address potential reductions in funding, the conferees are concerned that the agency made this announcement before a final appropriation was determined. The conferees direct NASS to reconsider its decision to eliminate or reduce the frequency of these reports and to reinstate as many reports as possible. As the agency considers which to reinstate, the conferees direct the agency to prioritize the reports that do not have similar information captured by other NASS surveys and reports or would be otherwise infrequently published. The conferees remind the agency that reducing or eliminating any survey or report is further subject to the reprogramming requirements in this Act."
Comments: Veteran Washington contacts say it could have been part of NASS strategy to announce the report cutbacks in order to send a signal to Congress that it needed additional funding. If so, that strategy worked.
NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.