For nearly 100 years, USDA Market News has been collecting market information on behalf of those working in American agriculture to provide current, unbiased price and sales information.
Covering both domestic and international markets, the data is disseminated within hours of collection to help market and distribute farm commodities. It is all provided publicly and free of charge via the Internet and other electronic means, in printed reports, by telephone recordings, and through the news media. The agricultural industry relies on the thousands of market reports across hundreds of commodities, often using the data to create reports of their own.
Most recently, in September 2012, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) contacted USDA to discuss creating a market news app to suit their stakeholders’ needs. This initial conversation spurred the development a new tool that allows the sheep industry, and anyone else who might be interested, to have market information available at their fingertips. On August 1, 2013, ASI announced the launch of its new smartphone app, which provides market data as soon as USDA releases it.
ASI headed the development of this tool, working with the USDA Market News staff to determine which reports would be the best fit. Together, ASI and USDA selected market information derived from six different national reports, along with price data from seven key regional auction markets.
The app provides the industry with the convenience of valuable market data anywhere, anytime. This kind of partnership between USDA and the sheep industry is critical to supporting American producers.
ASI saw an opportunity to use USDA-collected market information and organize it into a user-friendly format. The app, produced at a minimal cost, no longer ties customers to a computer; rather, they can access it straight from their smartphones. In the future, ASI plans to expand this app to include other market information.
ASI used the same independent developer who created an app for accessing USDA feeder cattle market information. That app, called “Cattle Talk Mobile,” provides highlights from weekly feeder cattle markets that are reported by USDA in 22 states. It also has a utility that allows users to calculate an estimated value for their cattle based on the market reported in their local area.
By collaborating with the private sector to develop tools such as these, value is added to the market information that USDA collects. Stakeholders help distribute data in a way that helps all sectors of the marketplace to make marketing decisions. USDA is proud to provide high-quality market information to the public free of charge, and we’re thrilled to see our stakeholders put it to good use.