WASHINGTON — Following months of preparation, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is mailing production surveys this week to wheat flour mills in the United States.
NASS will begin issuing data for the first quarter of 2015 as part of its Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) – Flour Milling program. NASS has asked millers to respond with data by April 10. The survey responses may be mailed or submitted electronically on-line at www.agcounts.usda.gov.
For most of the 20th century, flour production data was gathered and published by a different branch of the U.S. government — the Bureau of the Census within the Department of Commerce, under Current Industrial Reports. This work was halted in 2011. Since then, the North American Millers’ Association has engaged Veris Consulting, Inc. to gather data based on the largest flour milling companies of the United States.
With the U.S.D.A. taking charge, the flour production data release will be calendarized in the same manner as other NASS reports, including Crop Production, Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings. The first release date for the Flour Milling Products report, as it will be known, has been set for May 1.
Because of the tight timetable, NASS has urged millers to submit data promptly after each quarter’s end.
In addition to figures for January-March 2015, NASS said it will publish data for the last two quarters of 2014. The publication will become available at 3 p.m. EDT.
Included in the report will be national and regional statistics for all flour mills in the United States. Other data to be included are figures for wheat, durum and rye milling; whole wheat flour production; millfeed production, wheat milled and 24-hour milling capacity.NASS noted that “response is not only encouraged but required by law.”