Will the Crush and Acreage Reports be Cut from the USDA Budget?
So, Lew Perdue reported on something that's been keeping me up at night - the fact that possibility that the federal government may defund the Crush Report and the Acreage Report. Check out his report, it's a concise breakdown of the issue. If this were to happen, it would be a shame. This is not a big program, yet it is an essential tool for us. Our planting decisions are long-term and the feedback mechanism of price movement is delayed by several years. Furthermore, this data gathering cannot be replaced by a private program, which would not have mandatory compliance mechanisms. So, will it be cut? Let's consider a few different points:
1) This budget will not pass, though it will likely influence the final budget;
2) Ag, like education, has strong advocates in the legislature and this program is part of the broad crop report infrastructure of the USDA;
3) The program is partially funded by our industry's own assessments, which should help to preserve it;
4) My understanding is that the infrastructure of this program overlaps with or is associated with the Census of Agriculture, which is explicitly protected in the proposal;
5) Finally, if the feds do put this on the chopping block, it is possible the Bear Republic may adopt it in some way. I asked California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross about this and, though her response was non-commital, she seemed very open to advocating for such a move.
I believe that the preponderance of evidence points toward preservation of the program. It is likely to survive. Of course, I forecast grape prices, not politics and it's a crazy (political) world out there right now, so who knows.
But call your federal officials, tweet them with #SaveTheCrushReport and e-mail them. Contact info below:
White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call
Secretary of Agriculture: @SecretarySonny
Senators Feinstein and Harris: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=CA