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FY14 Federal Budget and Related ERS Actions

TO: ERS Customers and Stakeholders

FROM: Mary Bohman, ERS Administrator

DATE: October 23, 2013

RE: FY 14 Federal Budget and Related ERS Actions

*For more updated information, please see the FY14 Plans: ERS Products page.

Five months ago, the Economic Research Service made some difficult decisions regarding our program of work for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, in response to Federal appropriations legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President in March. As the new fiscal year begins, we need once again to plan and prioritize, and to communicate our decisions.

The legislation signed by the President on October 17 includes a continuing resolution that funds the Federal Government – including ERS – through January 15, 2014. For now, ERS’s FY 2014 appropriation is at last fiscal year’s level of $71.4 million. In order to continue providing high-quality, objective research on agriculture, food, natural resources, the environment, and rural communities, ERS will continue to focus on the areas that are most important in informing decision makers and on the topics where we have particular strengths as an intramural Federal research agency.

As in FY 2013, we can in some cases determine specific impacts that link to a scheduled report or data product. A number of our commodity reports and data rely on National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) products that remain suspended because of budget reductions. Current levels of funding for ERS limit our ability to quickly develop alternative data sources or approaches, although we continue to investigate options. Consequently, several ERS commodity newsletters and data products listed on our Agency’s calendar will continue to be suspended, and several others will lack data hitherto provided by NASS.

The affected commodities are aquaculture, vegetables and pulses, cattle, and fruit and tree nuts. NASS does plan to resume its milk production surveys in the new fiscal year. Thus ERS will resume reporting the Monthly Milk Cost of Production, and we will again include updates and analysis on the number of dairy cows and milk output per cow in our monthly livestock outlook report. As in FY 2013, ERS is also suspending updates for a few data products other than the commodity-related releases.

The reduction in ERS financial resources will affect our program beyond the outlook and data products. We are setting priorities for our program of work for the fiscal year ahead and making difficult choices. Although ERS will continue to cover the breadth of USDA programs, we are reducing plans in some core areas, ultimately leading to fewer research reports, and less flexibility in addressing new issues.

At the end of this letter is a list of the specific actions ERS plans to take at this point regarding our scheduled reports and data products. Some actions continue measures taken in FY 2013. Depending on budget-related developments (including NASS’s ability to end suspension of some of its data products), the list of affected ERS products may change in the coming months.

We will continue looking for ways to operate more efficiently and to innovate in the delivery of our information and data. And we will keep our customers and stakeholders informed of any budget-related changes in our FY 2014 plans.

FY14 Budget Impacts as of October 2013

ERS Outlook Program

Following are specific changes planned at this time for reports and data in the ERS outlook program in Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014).

Dairy Data (Monthly)
Updates to data on milk cows and milk output per cow resume in November.

Monthly Milk Cost of Production (Monthly)
Updates resume beginning November 5.

Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (Monthly)
Updates and analysis on the number of milk cows and milk output per cow resume with the November report. Reports will include no analysis or data updates based on the suspended NASS July 2013 Cattle report.

Livestock and Meat Domestic Data (Monthly)
Will include no data updates or analysis based on the suspended NASS July 2013 Cattle report.

Aquaculture Data (Monthly)
Will include no updates to catfish and trout inventories, sales, prices, and processing, pending reinstatement of NASS surveys for these data.

Vegetables and Pulses Outlook (Quarterly)
Reports suspended pending reinstatement of NASS surveys for these commodities.

Vegetables and Pulses Data by Category and Data by Commodity (Monthly)
Will update data only from sources other than NASS, pending reinstatement of suspended NASS surveys for these commodities.

Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Tables (Annual)
Update suspended pending reinstatement of NASS surveys for these commodities.

Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook (Quarterly)
Reports suspended pending reinstatement of NASS reports for these commodities..

Fruit and Tree Nuts Data by Category and Data by Commodity (Monthly)
Will update data only from sources other than NASS, pending reinstatement of suspended NASS surveys for these commodities.

Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Tables (Annual)
Will be partially updated on November 19, 2013 with a combination of available final and preliminary 2012 data. Data for some variables will not be available.

Other ERS Data Products

ERS continues to take actions to make the best use of resources. In some cases, the information is available elsewhere.

Agricultural Productivity in the U.S.
Updates of the State-level statistics continue to be suspended. (Quality of the national statistics is preserved.)

County-Level Data Sets (“County Look-Up Tables”)
Updates of socioeconomic indicators in this format continue to be phased out. Most of the data are available through ERS’s Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America.

Fertilizer Imports/Exports
Updates of this data product continue to be suspended. The underlying information is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Foreign Trade Division.

Organic Handlers: Procurement and Contracting
Updates continue to be suspended.

Commodity Consumption by Population Characteristics
Series has been discontinued. The underlying data are available from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Federal Funds
Series has been discontinued. Underlying data are no longer available.

Last updated: Friday, June 13, 2014

For more information contact: Website Administrator

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