Have you ever wondered how American farmers and businesses track the price of their commodities? Today, farmers, ranchers, and the entire agricultural supply chain turn to USDA Market News – administered by my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – for timely, reliable, unbiased data that serves as the information lifeline for America’s agricultural economy.
But 100 years ago, everyone was in the dark about how much things cost. 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, the impact of USDA Market News reports is clear. Each year, AMS issues more than 250,000 reports that get more than 53 million views. 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. Our Market News reporters capture data for hundreds of products – from cotton to grass-fed beef to grain to lettuce – including data on organic products, retail store pricing, and locally and regionally marketed products. USDA Market News reaches millions of Americans every day – from the small farmer in Arkansas to the trading floors in Chicago – to ensure that all stakeholders have the information they need when they need it.
So what good is all this information? It makes our nation’s commodity market one of the most transparent in the world and provides critical market intelligence. That means:
- Farmers and ranchers know they're getting a fair price;
- Wholesalers make better decisions about what and how much to buy;
- And commodity traders buy and sell based on trends in the data.
From the telegraph to a dynamic online database, Market News has leveraged available technology to bring on-demand market information to our stakeholders. USDA recently released an innovative, enhanced version of the Market News Portal with simplified navigation, giving users easier access to the wealth of timely and reliable data.
As we look to the future, we will continue to improve the data and reports that are the eyes and ears of the agriculture sector. From mobile apps and open data to on-demand custom analysis, we are excited to see what the next 100 years has in store. Whatever changes come, USDA Market News will remain the trusted source for timely, reliable, unbiased information.
USDA Market News will highlight its 100th anniversary at the Agricultural Outlook Forum at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. We invite everyone to join us for our breakout session to celebrate 100 years of USDA Market News: The Trusted Source – Then, Now and Always.
Please visit Forum Web site for session descriptions and to register: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/.