One fatality of the federal budget battle has been resurrected: Agricultural labor surveys/reports by the National Agricultural Statistics Service will resume in July.
The June 29 Federal Register reported “as a result of reimbursable funding” the surveys/reports will resume. The agency announced May 18 it would not publish the April farm labor report due on May 19. The July and October surveys/reports were also cancelled because of “budget constraints.”
Cutting the surveys/reports would have saved $310,000 – or .001% of the $23.9 billion that President Barack Obama proposed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in his 2012 budget.
The quarterly reports include the number of agricultural workers, hours worked and wage rates. The data is used to project agricultural productivity. Wage rate data is used to set wages for the H-2A agricultural worker program.
In addition to the government agencies and individual growers that use information from the surveys, some lending institutions and insurance providers also rely on the data to set agricultural loan and insurance rates.
The surveys compile data from about 6,000 farms nationwide. Separate surveys are done in California.