Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is defending the work of USDA statisticians in their work to estimate the size of 2019 crops.

Speaking Monday to members of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Perdue noted the concern that arose last summer after the gulf between market expectations and USDA reports widened, something that frustrated traders and producers alike.

Perdue said some of the reaction bordered on “paranoia in light of all the prevented planting and all the other things that were falling on us” as producers struggled through a difficult planting season.

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“Ultimately, I think we’ll find out (USDA’s) numbers, which sort of surprised the market back in June, that they may have been more correct than the market was,” Perdue said.

One noteworthy ag economist, Scott Irwin with the University of Illinois, admitted via Twitter that “I was wrong on corn planted acreage and USDA was right. That simple. Maybe some changes coming yet from unharvested acres but they can't be that big.” But Irwin also criticized some USDA revisions to the corn balance sheet, saying it was a “historic reversal I have never seen before.”

Perdue also said he was open to producer feedback on how to improve NASS surveys, specifically citing the use of mobile surveys or NASA data for real-time analysis.

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