USDA supply and demand data to be released without ‘lockup’
For the first time in decades, the Agriculture Department today will release the latest information on supply and demand for crops without allowing major news organizations such as Reuters, Bloomberg and DTN/The Progressive Farmer early access to the information so their analyses can be released at the same time the data is released to the general public.
Until today, the news organizations have been allowed to enter a room at the Agriculture Department where they have literally been locked up while they analyze the data before it is released.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said the system has been changed because there were complaints about trading that took place in the minutes after USDA employees allowed the news organizations to transmit the data.
USDA has also said that staffing, IT security, and ancillary costs associated with maintaining the press room outweigh any continued benefits to the public.
The news organizations have said that their transmission was not responsible for the trading and that their customers, which include country elevators and individual farmers, will not be able to get information as quickly as big traders will.
The news organizations have also expressed concern that the transmission system might falter or be hacked. The Trump administration has not responded to these complaints except to refer to previous statements.
Today’s August crop report, one of the most important of the year, is scheduled to go live at noon.
Here is a list of the links to the reports that are supposed to be available at noon, along with USDA’s explanation of the changes: https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/.
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