New states presentation by Census

by Neil Sosland
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WASHINGTON — A major revision in reporting of U.S. flour production by states, meant to provide increased information on regional trends in flour production, appears for the first time in the newly-issued April-June production report released Aug. 9 by the Bureau of the Census. By combining production in states where output was not previously reported, often with states separately reported, the Census is now supplying data on a regional basis. The previous non-disclosure of flour output by states reflected the federal mandate to avoid disclosing information for individual companies or plants.

Prior to this change, states for which output was not reported separately were combined into a single category of "all other states." That total actually had been expanding in recent years. Almost all of the states that had not previously been disclosed now have been included in the new combinations.

Output for "all other states," as reported for April-June, is only 2,127,000 cwts, or 2% of aggregate output, contrasted with 29,088,000 in the previous Census report, accounting for 29% of output in January-March 2007.

As a result of this revision in the data reporting, only four states with active commercial flour milling plants are not listed separately or in combinations with other states. "All other states" now comprises Arizona, Hawaii, Maine and Massachusetts.

Reflecting the commitment to avoid disclosing data for individual companies, the Census Bureau, in reporting on output in periods prior to the second quarter, has not provided that information for three of the new groupings. In the case of California, which is now being reported separately instead of combined with Hawaii, as in the past, the Census Bureau did not release prior California output, which would have revealed Hawaiian data. The same problems limited past information for the new groupings of Nebraska and Iowa and New York and New Jersey.

This major change in reporting of state flour production, which is one of the most significant statistical revisions in this series, grew out of consultations between members of the staff of the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and the Bureau of the Census. Also, Milling & Baking News participated in these discussions.

NAMA provides funding to the Census Bureau in support of the compilation of the data on flour milling production and wheat grind.

In the new flour production report for April –June 2007, Kansas continues in its historical role as the leading flour producing state, turning out 8,649,000 cwts.

In second place in the new compilation, are the three states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, now reported as a single unit, turning out 8,077,000.

California, newly reported without Hawaii, ranks third at 7,601,000.

Minnesota is in fourth place, at 7,324,000.

New York and New Jersey are combined to rank fifth at 6,578,000 cwts.

These leaders are followed by Missouri, 6,261,000; Ohio, 6,202,000; Pennsylvania, 5,984,000; Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, 5,119,000; North Dakota, 4,793,000; Texas, 4,642,000; Nebraska and Iowa, 4,318,000; Oklahoma and Colorado, 3,413,000; Tennessee and Kentucky, 3,306,000; North Carolina, 3,191,000; Montana and Idaho, 2,888,000; Utah, 2,503,000; Virginia and Maryland, 2,496,000; Alabama and Louisiana, 2,493,000; Washington and Oregon, 2,115,000 and Michigan, 2,009,000.

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