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Published March 13, 2013, 10:36 AM

USDA suspends some statistical reports

The list includes the potato stocks report.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to suspend its potato stocks report isn’t good for Red River Valley potato growers, an industry official says.

The absence of the report “will add uncertainty to the market” and complicate some growers’ marketing decisions, says Carl Hoverson, a Larimore, N.D., farmer and chairman of the board of the East Grand Forks, Minn.-based Northern Plains Potato Growers Association

The potato stocks report, normally issued several times a year, measures grower, processor and local dealer potato storage stocks.

The Red River Valley of western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota is the nation’s leading producer of red potatoes and the only region that produces in volume for the chip, fresh, seed and process markets.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, announced Tuesday that a number of statistical surveys and reports are suspended because of reduced federal funding caused by sequestration.

One of the suspended reports was the July cattle report. Cattle industry officials, interviewed by Reuters for an online article, had a mixed reaction on how their industry will be affected

Other suspended reports include:

•All non-citrus fruit, nut and vegetable forecasts and estimates.

•June rice stocks.

•All hops and hops stocks estimates.

•Milk production reports.

•June on- and off-farm stocks for Austrian winter peas, chickpeas, dry peas and lentils.

USDA says it reviewed many factors before deciding to suspend the reports.

“The decision to suspend these reports was not made lightly, but it was nevertheless necessary, given the funding situation,” USDA says in the release.