The U.S. Department of Agriculture is calling on nearly 50,000 cattle operations nationwide to report the latest and most accurate data on cattle inventories and calf production.

“The January Cattle Survey provides Alabama producers the opportunity to serve as the frontline source of data on cattle” said Bill Weaver, director of the Alabama Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). “In Alabama, we’ll be contacting about 1,200 operations in order to measure trends in beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop and cattle operations.”

To make it as easy as possible for producers to participate, NASS offers the option of responding via telephone, mail, online or personal interview with a local NASS representative.

“However producers choose to respond, they are providing an important service to the cattle industry and to U.S. agriculture as a whole,” Weaver said. “Their responses will be compiled with those of their fellow producers nationwide, providing the only accurate and comprehensive estimate of the state of U.S. cattle production.”

The information is a critical decision-making tool for the cattle industry, he explained. “For instance, it helps producers make informed marketing decisions and plan for herd expansion or reduction. It also helps packers and government evaluate expected slaughter volume for future months and determine potential supplies for export,” Weaver said.

Survey results will be published in NASS’s Cattle report, on Jan. 28. The report will provide national-level estimates of total inventory, beef cows, milk cows, bulls, replacement heifers, other heifers, steers, calves and number of calves born during the previous year. In addition, NASS’s Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations report, also published in February, will include data on the number of operations with cattle and calves, and percent of inventory by herd size.

As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all survey responses and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

All reports are available on the NASS website: http://www.nass.usda.gov.