UPDATE: 3/13 at 4:21 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A leading dairy group is criticizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to eliminate its milk production reports.
The USDA's statistical arm announced Tuesday that it would suspend multiple reports covering at least 10 agricultural products ranging from milk and chickpeas to cattle and catfish because of $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts went into effect earlier this month.
Perhaps the highest profile reports on the chopping block are the agency's milk production estimates.
Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation said Wednesday this is a big deal because the reports are used to make decisions about marketing milk and other dairy products and to set prices.
Galen says he's not aware of any other entities that produce the data dairy farmers need.
ORIGINAL STORY: 3/13 at 1:49 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's statistical arm says it won't issue some agricultural reports this year because of the automatic federal budget cuts taking effect.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service keeps tabs on a wide range of agricultural industries that generate billions of dollars for the U.S. economy. Its reports influence the price and supply of many products that end up on American dinner plates.
The reports being suspended this year include the agency's July tally of cattle, which is used by the beef industry, and milk production reports.
The agency posted a notice on its website Tuesday listing the reports to be cut. It says the decision was not made lightly but it was necessary given the agency's funding.
Other reports cover catfish, potatoes, rice and fruit and vegetables.