Farmers receive less information without USDA crop report - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Farmers receive less information without USDA crop report


More than a week into the government shut down, the effects are being felt in many places including farms.

With the government shut down, the USDA crop reports are not being published.

"I use it to make decisions in my marketing plans and just general information," Farmer Art Van Ravenhorst said.

Van Ravenhorst has been relying on local sources like the commodity office and people at the Sioux Center Farmers Cooperative Society for information.

"It's important just knowing what the supplies are," Van Ravenhorst said.

Farmers Cooperative Society Grain Manager John Hansen said it's not too bad for them because there are other reports they look at, but he considers the USDA's information the most precise.

"The USDA is kind of the gold standard, so everything looks at that and things are based off that. So, when I look at it, 'I go okay, this is what the USDA has. This is what the private people have. Is it higher or lower? And, I try to make my decisions on that,'" Hansen said.

And, a typical crop report this time of year looks at several different factors.

"We count the amount of crop that's been harvested, so the corn and soybeans that have been harvested. We look at how much progress from last week and previous years. We know this year we're behind. The market sure likes to know where we're at," Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said.

And that helps farmers know when to buy and sell grain. Hansen said without the crop report, livestock producers are the ones suffering the most because they have less sources to confer with before selling.

"For the livestock producer, it probably has bigger impact for him to get more of the information on daily runs on livestock," Hansen said.

Van Ravenhorst, who owns livestock and grows corn and soybeans, says he hopes the USDA's report comes back soon.

"I feel our representatives are not doing their job and by messing around, they're making life harder for the general public," Van Ravenhorst said.

And, he said, he may eventually have to subscribe to other companies for information if the government isn't up and running soon.

For now, farmers can consult with neighbors, use other public domain reports, or subscribe to private companies.

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