The National Potato Council is investigating options to restore USDA potato stocks estimates cut due to budget sequestration, including industry funding to cover the work or identifying offsetting cuts to less important spud reports.
USDA officials said they'll listen to suggestions but can't promise to enact them.
Sequestration-capping government spending-went into effect March 1. As a result, USDA announced its National Agricultural Statistics Service would suspend several commodity reports for the remainder of the fiscal year, including potato stocks reports and reports pertaining to other commodities.
John Keeling, executive vice president and CEO of NPC, said the potato stocks reports offer the industry's only data on crop usage by processors and are vital for making inventory-based decisions.
USDA spokeswoman Sue King acknowledged NASS agreed to estimate what it would cost NPC to cover the reports, but added, "No commitment has been made, and we are still working on the cost estimate."
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press