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Vilsack: USDA studying report release changes

By JERRY HAGSTROM

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that USDA officials are examining whether to make any changes in the release of USDA reports in the wake of the Intercontinental Exchange’s launch of electronic grain futures trading and the CME Group’s decision to extend its Chicago Board of Trade trading hours. These developments mean that trading will be taking place when USDA reports are released.

During a call to reporters on another issue, Vilsack said that changing the timing of reports is “a complicated issue” that must be considered carefully because "a decision as to timing and information being available can potentially make a difference of millions of dollars.”

Vilsack noted that ICE and CME are “are essentially two competing entities that have different hours that do not necessarily align.”

Officials want to figure out how to release the information in a timely way without distorting markets, he said.

Vilsack added that USDA is in the process of analyzing the pros and cons of proposed changes.

The agency will provide an opportunity to stakeholders to react before changes are made, he said, so “whatever we do on a permanent basis will be the best for all concerned.”

The first real tests of the new situation will be on June 12 when USDA is scheduled to release its next monthly supply and demand report, and on June 29 when a key U.S. acreage and quarterly stocks report will be released, the Chicago Tribune said today.