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Federal Budget Cuts Will Impact Agriculture Statistics

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Agriculture will be one of the biggest industries affected by federal budget cuts. Statistics Canada announced a list of cuts to programs and services including some that have been completely eliminated. The agency was tasked with trimming down its budget by $33.9 million by 2014-15. The cuts are across the board and will affect both data collecting and reporting.

Although the cuts are steep, the agency says that it will reduce the number of print publications and release more of its reports online in an effort to save cash and making the information more assessable. Below are the agricultural programs that will be impacted by data collection:

Agriculture Value Added Account

 The final release of the Agriculture Value Added Account was published on November 24, 2011. Custom data tables on the Agriculture Value Added Account continue to be available on a cost-recovery basis from the Agriculture Economic Statistics Program. 

Farm Business Cash Flows

 The final release of the Farm Business Cash Flows was published on January 18, 2012. Custom data tables on the Farm Business Cash Flows continue to be available on a cost-recovery basis from the Agriculture Economic Statistics program.

Farm Cash Receipts

 Effective May 23, 2012, farm cash receipts data are released semi-annually instead of quarterly. Data for the second and third quarters of 2012 will be released in November 2012. Information on net farm income for 2011 will also be released in November 2012.

Farm Product Price Index

 Effective June 2012, the Farm Product Price Index has been released quarterly instead of monthly. The most recent release took place on June 4, 2012. The next release of the Index will be on August 29, 2012.

Farm Product Prices Survey

 The following four components of the survey are discontinued: Potato prices; Straw and hay prices; Grain and oilseed prices; Grain and specialty crop prices. Statistics Canada is investigating ways to replace these price components with administrative sources. All other components of the Farm Product Prices Survey will continue to be published.

Field Crop Reporting Series: The December Farm Survey

 The last release of the December Farm Survey was on February 3, 2012. Other surveys in the Field Crop Reporting Series will continue to be conducted.

Fruit and Vegetable Survey

Starting in 2013, Statistics Canada will release data from the Fruit and Vegetable Survey once a year instead of twice a year. The spring data collection has been discontinued. The last available results of the Spring Fruit and Vegetable Survey were published on June 23, 2011. The fall data collection will continue, with results for reference year 2012 to be published in early 2013.

Hog Survey

Starting with the July 2012 occasion, data for the Hog Survey will be collected twice a year instead of quarterly. Data for the July and January reference periods will continue to be collected while the October and April collections have been discontinued. Information will continue to be published from the January and July surveys.

Net Farm Income

Statistics Canada will release data on net farm income once a year instead of twice a year. As a result, the release of preliminary data for net farm income for 2011, scheduled for May 23, 2012, was cancelled. Data for 2011 will be released on November 26, 2012.

Agriculture Value Added Account

The final release of the Agriculture Value Added Account was published on November 24, 2011. Custom data tables on the Agriculture Value Added Account continue to be available on a cost-recovery basis from the Agriculture Economic Statistics Program.

Farm Business Cash Flows

The final release of the Farm Business Cash Flows was published on January 18, 2012. Custom data tables on the Farm Business Cash Flows continue to be available on a cost-recovery basis from the Agriculture Economic Statistics program.

Farm Cash Receipts

Effective May 23, 2012, farm cash receipts data are released semi-annually instead of quarterly. Data for the second and third quarters of 2012 will be released in November 2012. Information on net farm income for 2011 will also be released in November 2012.

Farm Product Price Index

Effective June 2012, the Farm Product Price Index has been released quarterly instead of monthly. The most recent release took place on June 4, 2012. The next release of the Index will be on August 29, 2012.

Farm Product Prices Survey

The following four components of the survey are discontinued: Potato prices; Straw and hay prices; Grain and oilseed prices; Grain and specialty crop prices. Statistics Canada is investigating ways to replace these price components with administrative sources. All other components of the Farm Product Prices Survey will continue to be published.

Field Crop Reporting Series: The December Farm Survey

The last release of the December Farm Survey was on February 3, 2012. Other surveys in the Field Crop Reporting Series will continue to be conducted.

Fruit and Vegetable Survey

Starting in 2013, Statistics Canada will release data from the Fruit and Vegetable Survey once a year instead of twice a year. The spring data collection has been discontinued. The last available results of the Spring Fruit and Vegetable Survey were published on June 23, 2011. The fall data collection will continue, with results for reference year 2012 to be published in early 2013.

Hog Survey

Starting with the July 2012 occasion, data for the Hog Survey will be collected twice a year instead of quarterly. Data for the July and January reference periods will continue to be collected while the October and April collections have been discontinued. Information will continue to be published from the January and July surveys.

Net Farm Income

Statistics Canada will release data on net farm income once a year instead of twice a year. As a result, the release of preliminary data for net farm income for 2011, scheduled for May 23, 2012, was cancelled.

So what does this mean for agriculture? It could mean that there will be less reliable data available to farm groups and researchers to predict trends in their industry and impede decision making. Statistics Canada is the most cost effective, reliable data at our disposal and less data means less information. This isn’t a good sign for the agriculture industry.

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