Leaders Across Five Decades Unite to Oppose USDA Statistics and Research Plans

Manifesting the deep concern over the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) plan to reorganize and relocate its statistical and research agencies, 56 former federal statistical agency and USDA officials—including former deputies and undersecretaries—have written to Congress to warn of the likely consequences and urge the proposed plans be abandoned.

Signatories to the letter worked under nine administrations and included former chief statisticians, many past directors of the US Census Bureau and leaders of other federal statistical agencies, and a wide range of USDA officials. The letter was organized by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics and the ASA.

As Katherine Wallman, former chief statistician of the United States and 1992 ASA president, noted, “The USDA’s dismantling of the Economic Research Service is the biggest threat to a federal statistical agency in many years. Its actions undermine the autonomy that is critical to ERS’s credibility and effectiveness. Now more than ever we need to strengthen our federal statistical agencies so they can maintain their bedrock role in the US data infrastructure.”

For more information, see the ASA’s press release, Leaders Across Five Decades Unite to Oppose USDA Plans.