Purdue Collegiate Farm Bureau provides students with the USDA Crop Lockup

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

This past September, Dane Chapman, Zeb Davis, and Brooke Schafer had the opportunity through Indiana Farm Bureau to attend the reading of the September Crop Report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA. A group of Purdue Collegiate Farm Bureau members took a 3-day trip to Washington, D.C. to understand the importance of the Lockup process. The September crop report predicted we would have a record-breaking production year.

According to the USDA at https://bit.ly/2qc6QWF, NASS prepares official USDA estimate reports under objective and statistically sound procedures and is committed to protecting these reports until they are publicly released at preannounced dates and times. The purpose of Lockup is to eliminate anyone having early access to sensitive information because that would be an advantage in trading on the commodities market. Only authorized personnel can enter the area through a single-entry point, and once someone enters, they may not leave until the Lockup ends and the report is released. All telephone and internet connections are switched off.

Dane Chapman (Junior; Agribusiness Marketing; Brookston, IN) found a greater appreciation for the crop reporting process and the amount of work that goes into creating these monthly reports. He was able to see that these reports have a direct impact on the commodity markets, and how that relates to what students are learning in AGEC classes. “We have learned about the law of supply and demand in class but witnessing it first hand in such an important year for agriculture was truly a unique experience and proved the importance of the Lockup process.”

Zeb Davis (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Reynolds, IN) is thankful for Indiana Farm Bureau, because this trip allowed him to learn how the reports are calculated and the impacts they have on domestic and global commodity markets. “Overall, this trip changed my view on agriculture in the sense that we need people to advocate for agriculture. Farmers build the foundation of agriculture; however, we also need people to build the markets and drive demand for the crop domestically and globally.”

Students also received a policy briefing at American Farm Bureau and toured the Capitol, Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon, and monuments. They also had a networking dinner with individuals who work on policy in D.C. Brooke Schafer (Junior; Applied Agricultural Economics; Chebanse, IL) said one interesting thing she learned was from their tour of the monuments. Their tour guide told them FDR had a section of trees cut out so he could always see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial from the White House. “It also served the purpose of Thomas Jefferson being able to watch over the White House when the president is away.” Brooke found it especially fascinating because the Jefferson Memorial is her favorite spot in D.C.

From this experience in Washington, D.C., these students witnessed the great amount time spent developing the report and the necessity of a secure lockup. It allowed them to make connections of things they are learning in class and how that applies to the world of agriculture. 

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