USDA To Re-Survey Planted Acres for Entire Corn Belt
Source: USDA To Re-Survey Planted Acres for Entire Corn Belt | Agweb.com
Perhaps a few days ago you heard a rather loud “thud” that echoed all across the farm belt. That was the sound of every corn farmer’s jaw in the U.S. hitting the floor at the same time as they read the estimated corn planted acres just released by the USDA. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know we’ve been having weather problems here in the corn belt. Rain, and lots of it, has meant big delays in getting crops in the ground, and a lot of fields are standing empty because the farmers couldn’t plant at all.
So when the USDA report of acres planted came out and USDA claimed 91.7 million acres of corn was planted this spring 3% more than last year, a lot of farmers looked out the window at fields that were either still seas of mud, unplanted, or planted with cover crops that aren’t going to pay their bills, there was a collective “WTF???” uttered across the entire corn belt as we all wondered what the hell USDA is smoking.
There was so much disbelief and outright anger over the estimate that USDA had to start backpedaling almost immediately and admit that there might be “a problem” with some of their data, and start looking for excuses to explain how their estimates are almost 10 million acres higher than what the best estimates have been from other sources. Typically, they did what they do best, shifted the blame to the farmers themselves, stating that their data isn’t based on the actual number of acres farmers planted, but it was based on what farmers said they might plant at the start of the season…
Anyway, USDA now says they’re going to take a do-over and resurvey the entire midwest to see if they can get better numbers, but that isn’t going to be done until August, we’re told, by which time, well, it isn’t going to matter much anyway so in reality the resurvey is really going to be little more than a waste of time and money.
I haven’t seen so much anger and outrage in the ag community in a long time. Normally the comments sections at AgWeb are, well, empty, really. If someone does make a comment it’s relatively thoughtful and calm. But now? The comments on this story were livid. How could USDA screw up the numbers so badly? We’re talking close to a ten million acre discrepancy here according to some sources.
USDA’s reputation was already on somewhat shakey ground before this happened. The agency already had a reputation of providing crop and yield estimates that weren’t accurate. That was generally attributed to sheer incompetence and not outright fraud.
But it wasn’t just the crop numbers that seemed a bit off. Other things were going on at USDA as well have made the agency look, well, more than a little shady. It’s made decisions that have favored the big ag monopolies and multinational corporations at the expense of the farmers the agency is supposed to protect. It’s seemed way too cosy with certain big ag business companies. And a lot of the people at USDA who are supposed to be helping and protecting farmers have come straight from the offices of the very companies USDA is supposed to be regulating.
After this report was released, a lot of farmers now think the fix is in, and that USDA is actively manipulating the data for the financial benefit of big commodities brokers, financial institutions, and the big ag companies. Just read the comments following some of these stories and you’ll see that even the farmers who don’t believe USDA has sold itself out lock, stock and barrel, think there is something going on over there.
8 thoughts on “USDA To Re-Survey Planted Acres for Entire Corn Belt | Agweb.com”
Of course the fix is in, this is Trump Land and why should USDA be any different than all other U.S. government agencies? Corporate America favors corporate America. By the way crop over estimates was the norm in Soviet Russia and how well that turned out.
I can certainly understand why people are suspicious after what’s been going on in D.C. For a long time USDA’s actions and even the statistics it puts out have been questionable. This revolving door where employees of the industries these agencies regulate get appointed to or hired by the agencies, then later return to the companies they regulated – the whole thing is just ripe with abuse. The FCC is the same way. Pai was a lawyer for the telecommunications industry before being appointed to the agency and the FCC’s policies since his appointment have been blatantly pro industry and anti consumer ever since. Former employees of the FCC and even commissioners have been engaging in legally questionable activities. One of Pai’s pals and a former member of an FCC panel just pled guilty to fraud. The swamp wasn’t drained, it was made wider and deeper.
And the alligators got hungrier and a lot fatter…
I thought estimates were only sround 80% on the high end. WTF?
As of mid-June, there were still about 20+ million acres unplanted that should have been in the ground. I’m sure a lot of that has since been planted, but considering how late it got in the ground and the weather conditions we’re having whether or not we’ll get a crop off those acres is anyone’s guess right now. The numbers I’ve been seeing seem to be changing every day and mostly expressed as percentages in prevent plant. I’ve heard estimates that Ohio is looking at 20% – 28% unplanted or planted too late to be good for anything but silage. Illinois around 15%. Wisconsin at least 10%. Not sure about the other states. The problem is that all I’m seeing are estimates based on a variety of sources, not any actual hard numbers. Last I heard about 34% of corn growers were planning on filing for prevent plant payments on at least some of their acres, and another 24% weren’t sure if they were going to have to yet. The other problem is that acres planted doesn’t necessarily mean those acres are going to get harvested. From what I’ve seen of the corn crop here, it is at least a good 2-4 weeks, probably a bit more, and it’s probably going to get hit with frost before it’s ready to harvest for grain. It should be a foot tall by this time, but I haven’t seen anything more than about 4 inches. I suspect that’s going to be even more of an issue with Minnesota and North Dakota. At least USDA has now said that farmers can harvest cover crops or corn for silage on prevent acres and still file for crop insurance.
You can plant corn as a cover crop, but you absolutely can not harvest it for grain. There are insurance limitations as well.
At any rate, as you noted the USDA is seemingly pulling data out of their a**.
We are literally off the grid here. The “corporatizing” of the US government has been completed and we can no longer trust ANYTHING we hear from them. Consider that the USDA is now in the process of removing all scientists from the ranks; either relocating them to Kansas (irony?) or they are terminated. All of them. The USDA has been producing some of the most important scientific reports on agriculture since its’ inception. No more. They want all climate change data and anything else that doesn’t work for Big Agra buried and they’re in the process of actually doing it now. All tax-payer paid data (and personnel for that matter) are now going to be destroyed or done away with by the Agra corporatists! Very, very, bad news for all Americans.
We need to do something about it or get used to it. And it’s not going to stop at the USDA.
You have a very good point there. The government is heavily influenced by the big corporations, thanks to the system of legalized bribery we laughingly call a campaign finance system. Who is a politician going to listen to and work for? You and me, or someone who can shovel millions of dollars into a PAC that will flood his district with ads supporting him and putting down his opponent?