USDA Stops Allowing Select Media to Pre-analyze Crop, Livestock Reports

Starting next month, the Department of Agriculture will end its embargo procedures for select media that allows reporters early access to crop and livestock reports. The organizations previously allowed to analyze reports starting 90 minutes before public release will now gain access to the reports at the same time they are released to the public, ending a century-old policy.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA is making the change to address the head start of a “few microseconds that can amount to a market advantage.” USDA says the evidence suggests there is significant trading activity worth millions of dollars that occurs in the one to two second period immediately following the 12:00 p.m. report release time, which “could not be based on the public reading of USDA data.” USDA says the inference is that private agents are paying the news agencies for faster data transmission to get a jump on the market.

The news agencies involved include the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Thompson Reuters, Market News International, Bloomberg News and DTN/Progressive Farmer.