Oh, Billy! The New York Times reports that the federal Department of Agriculture won't be counting goats, hops, or catfish on America's farms anymore.
Last year, Wisconsin led the nation in mink farming, producing 833,430 pelts. Texas was the undisputed king of pansies, growing 1.8 million flats of the flowers. And no state harvested more hops than Washington, with 24,336 acres.
This year? Who knows? The government has stopped counting.
Forced to cut its budget, the Agriculture Department has decided to eliminate dozens of reports, including the annual goat census (current population: three million), and the number of catfish on the nation's fish farms (177 million, not counting the small fry).
…The statistics service said it was forced to reduce the frequency of some reports and eliminate others because its budget was cut for the fiscal year that ended in September and it expects further cuts for the current year. The eliminated reports will save $11 million a year.
…The reports themselves reveal a possible rationale for some of the cuts. There are just 389 catfish farms today in the three main producing states, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, down from 838 in 2004. There were 265 mink farms nationwide last year, down from 350 a decade earlier.
Via Cato's Sallie James.