NCBA: Discontinued July Cattle Report Will Negatively Impact the Industry

The National Agricultural Statistics Service recently announced it will no long issue the July Cattle Report. The agency is also discontinuing the county estimates for crops and livestock and the Cotton Objective Yield Survey starting in the 2024 production year. Tanner Beymer, senior director of government affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, talks about the reason behind the decision.

“According to the press release they put out, they are trying to comply with budget cuts and try and stretch that dollar out a little bit. And it is true that the National Agricultural Statistics Service specifically took about an 11 percent haircut during the last appropriations bills that passed through Congress here a couple of weeks ago. But in actuality, the amount of savings that they are going to realize through canceling these reports, discontinuing others, and making some other revisions are not going to be the types of savings that are going to justify the immense cost to the industry by not having access to this information.”

The decision to quit the July cattle report couldn’t come at a worse time for the cattle industry.

“If you want to just look at that July cattle inventory report, that is an incredibly important set of data that a lot of market analysts, livestock producers, and other participants in the marketplace rely upon to give us a sense of what’s going on with supply and demand dynamics. And that’s especially critical during the phase of the cattle cycle that we’re currently in, which is herd contraction. This has been very similar to the 2014 run in a lot of ways but in several other ways, it’s been very different. We won’t be able to compare and contrast the two and get an accurate picture of where we are at as an industry without that information that comes out in that July report.”

The July cattle inventory report is one of only two per year the marketplace gets from NASS, so it will have a big impact on the cattle industry.

“We get inventory reports twice a year; one in January and one in July. And that January inventory report is also important, but it is insufficient to kind of give us that sense of where we’re at mid-year, right? That July report is looking at a very different seasonal time and a very different set of data. And again, the more information that you can pump into a marketplace, the better your price discovery is going to be, the better informed you’re able to make decisions, and just the more robust a marketplace is.”