Vilsack: limited budget and time caused report cancellations

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday the budget cuts for USDA in Fiscal Year 2024 have consequences for U.S. farmers and ranchers.

“When the National Ag Statistics Service’s budget was reduced, there’s a consequence. And more importantly, when it comes to this topic, when it takes 5 to 6 months for the budget to be passed, then the ability and options available for dealing with a cut in the budget are limited.”

In early April the USDA announced it would cancel the NASS July Cattle Inventory Report as well as discontinue other reports including the Cotton Objective Yield Survey and all County Estimates for Crops and Livestock in the 2024 production year. The cancellations have been met with frustration from several in the agriculture industry.

Vilsack said adequate funding and earlier decision making work better for the USDA and the impacts of a budget cut go beyond report cancellations.

“None of the pay increases were incorporated in the budget. NASS and the USDA had to find the resources to deal with pay increases as well.”

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas told Secretary Vilsack it’s hard to defend Congress, but the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee prioritizes getting work done on time.

Congress approved the 2024 Fiscal Year budget for USDA in March and on Tuesday, the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee had its first hearing on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget.  Watch the hearing.

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