USDA Food Market News celebrates centennial


ARLINGTON, Va. — USDA Food Market News, the daily news service on the price of commodities, celebrated its 100th anniversary during the Agriculture Outlook Forum last week.

Noticias de Mercado del USDA celebra su centenario Imagen

“Today, farmers, ranchers, and the entire agricultural supply chain turn to USDA Market News for timely, reliable, unbiased data that serves as the information lifeline for America’s agricultural economy,” said Anne Alonzo, administrator of the Agriculture Marketing Service, which distributes the reports.

“But 100 years ago, everyone was in the dark about how much things cost,” Alonzo noted. “That’s why, in 1915, the first USDA Market News report was sent by telegraph, letting buyers and sellers across the country know the price of strawberries in Hammond, Louisiana.”

A century later, AMS issues more than 250,000 reports per year that get more than 53 million views. At a panel discussion, users of the data praised the fact that AMS gathers and releases the data free of charge within hours of collection, allowing all producers and marketers to quickly see which commodities are in demand and where.

“Market News provides the foundation for price discovery and risk management,” said Dave Lehman, the managing director for commodity research and new product development at the CME Group in Chicago. “I can’t overemphasize the value of market data to the CME Group.”

Miguel Garcia, the deputy director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture, noted the role that Market News has played in helping other countries to develop market news reporting systems that are vital to producers and to international trade.

“Market information is the lifeblood of a market economy,” Garcia noted.

Bob Young, the chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, noted that there are many private economic services offering information and that AMS might want to consider what other information it can provide in conjunction with those services and USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which makes crop production reports and estimates.

But Young concluded, “It is very important for USDA to maintain the role of providing official estimates.”

Alonzo said in a blog post that AMS plans to continue innovations for Market News.

“From mobile apps and open data to on-demand custom analysis, we are excited to see what the next 100 years has in store,” Alonzo said. “Whatever changes come, USDA Market News will remain the trusted source for timely, reliable, unbiased information.”

Published on: The Hagstrom Report, Monday, February 23, 2015 | Volume 5, Number 33