Sorry for the technical jargon in the title, but that just about sums up my feelings on USDA’s latest announcement of their intentions to no longer produce the annual floriculture crops report. After USDA-ERS dropping their situation and outlook reporting several years back and USDA-NASS cutting the nursery crops report to a overy-thrid-year cycle (but not having delivered on even that since 2005), now NASS decides to drop the only green industry report we have left? C’mon Man! (to use the Monday Night Football slogan for dumb plays). Yes, we know funding is tight. But why not go after other row crops that represent far less economic contributions than the green industry?
Now on the surface, this may not seem like a big deal, since we have a LOT of things to worry about in terms of getting our industry back on track in terms of profitability. But this is important, not only pragmatically, but symbolically as well. To me, IMHO, this is a continuation of the blatant lack of respect that USDA has for our industry, in spite of the lip service given to specialty crops. I mean, if specialty crops are so important to USDA’s strategic plan, how will the agency decide on how to allocate resources properly if their is no data to back up their justification(s). The only system that I can think of that they could possibly fall back on is to allocate funding based on the squeaky wheel philosophy. Real nice.
Another important use of that data historically has been it provides vital benchmark data that green industry firms can use in benchmarking and planning efforts and it provides state and national associations with important data with which to combat potentially negative legislation and to help justify potentially beneficial laws and regulations.
I guess this means that the national survey and economic impact study conducted every 5 years by the Green Industry Research Consortium will become all that more valuable. At least it covers all 50 states. Ok, enough ranting, for now…