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Survey on Agricultural Production Methods

In September 2010 a Survey of Agricultural Production Methods (SAPM) will be conducted on a sample of agricultural holdings. The SAPM will collect information on agricultural production methods. The objective of the SAPM is to produce additional statistics for the development of agri-environmental policy and to improve the quality of agri-environmental indicators.

Census of Agriculture 2010

What is the 2010 Census of Agriculture?

The 2010 Census of Agriculture is a detailed snapshot of agricultural activity in the Republic of Ireland. A Census questionnaire will be sent to every agricultural holding in the State where the area used for farming is at least one hectare. In addition, farms with less than one hectare will also be included in the Census if they are engaged in intensive production e.g. of pigs or poultry.

Why is a Census of Agriculture being held?

The purpose of the Census of Agriculture is to collect detailed statistics on the structure of farming in Ireland. This information will be crucial in determining the development of agricultural policy in Ireland and the European Union. The Census is being undertaken within the framework of the statistical programme of the European Union, and in particular, Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008. Similar Censuses are being conducted in all EU member states during 2009/2010 in order to provide comparable statistics from all member states.

When is the 2010 Census of Agriculture being held?

The 2010 Census of Agriculture is being held on 1st June 2010

Who is conducting the 2010 Census of Agriculture?

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is conducting the 2010 Census of Agriculture. The function of the CSO is to collect, compile and publish official statistics on the economic and social life of Ireland.

How is the 2010 Census of Agriculture being conducted?

The Census questionnaire and an information booklet will be posted to all farmers in the week preceding the reference date of 1st June 2010. It is important that the questionnaire is completed and returned to the CSO by Tuesday 8th June 2010. A freepost pre-addressed envelope will be provided for this purpose. Farmers can contact the CSO with any queries relating to the completion of the Census questionnaire on:

Replacement questionnaires can also be requested in cases where the original is lost or mislaid. If a farmer does not receive a questionnaire by June 1st, they should contact the CSO at the above number or e-mail address.

Is completion of a questionnaire mandatory?

Yes. There is a statutory obligation upon all agricultural producers to complete their Census questionnaire.

Reducing the response burden in the 2010 Census of Agriculture

The Census of Agriculture is the largest Agriculture project undertaken by the Central Statistics Office and relies on the goodwill of farmers for its completion and success. The CSO accepts that its surveys can impose a burden on respondents and accordingly it is committed to reducing this burden as much as possible. The 2010 Census of Agriculture will be the first census to use a combination of administrative records and completed paper questionnaires. Information on cattle numbers and the area under cereals and certain crops will be obtained from administrative records as set out in the EC Regulation.

Who uses Census of Agriculture Data?

The 2010 Census of Agriculture will provide a complete and comprehensive snapshot of the agricultural production sector. The principal users of these statistics are the Irish Government and the European Commission. Both use such statistics to help formulate and monitor agricultural policy. Census statistics are also used by farming associations, economic researchers and even individual agricultural producers.

Legal Basis

Regulation (EC) 1166/2008 of the European Parliament and the Council of 19 November 2008 on farm structure surveys and the survey on agricultural production methods and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 571/88 establishes the need

  • to conduct in each Member State a census of agricultural production at least every ten years and
  • for improvements to the collection of information on agricultural production methods linked to structural information on agricultural holdings

Data on cattle, cereals and certain crops will be taken from the administrative data files stipulated in the above Regulation. These are the Integrated Administration and Control System provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 and the System for the Identification and Registration of Bovine Animals provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000.

The Census of Agriculture 2010 is a statutory survey.

Definitions and Coverage

The objective of the Census is to collect data on the structure of agricultural holdings. An "agricultural holding" or "holding" is defined, in line with the definition adopted for EU surveys on the structure of agricultural holdings (Article 2 of Regulation 1166/2008) as:

a single unit, both technically and economically,which has a single management and which undertakes agricultural activities listed in Annex I within the economic territory of the European Union, either as its primary or secondary activity.

The coverage of the surveys specified in the Regulation (Article 3) includes:

  • agricultural holdings where the agricultural area utilised for farming is one hectare or more and
  • agricultural holdings where the agricultural area utilised for farming is less than one hectare, if those holdings produce a certain proportion for sale or if their production unit exceeds certain physical thresholds.

All information returned on Census questionnaires will be treated as strictly confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only. This is guaranteed by both Irish and EU law.

Section 33 of the Statistics Act 1993 states:

33.-(1) No information obtained in any way under this Act or the repealed enactments which can be related to an identifiable person or undertaking shall, except with the written consent of that person or undertaking or the personal representative or next-of-kin of a deceased person, be disseminated, shown or communicated to any person or body except as follows-

( a ) for the purposes of a prosecution for an offence under this Act;

( b ) to officers of statistics in the course of their duties under this Act;

( c ) for the purposes of recording such information solely for the use of the Office in such form and manner as is provided for by a contract in writing made by the Director General which protects its confidentiality to his satisfaction.

The Census of Agriculture 2010 is a postal survey and data will not be requested by telephone.

However, if you do receive a telephone call from the CSO, the call will be in relation to a specific query that you have made or to remind you to return your Census questionnaire. In this case, the staff member will identify themselves and state that they are calling from the Census of Agriculture section of the CSO in Cork.

If you would like to complete the Census of Agriculture questionnaire over the phone, the staff member will go through the questionnaire with you page by page. Under no circumstances will the CSO request private or personal data other than the information requested on the Census questionnaire.

History of the Census of Agriculture

The first Census of Agriculture was conducted in 1847 and annually thereafter until 1953. Censuses of Agriculture were then conducted every five years between 1960 and 1980, and every ten years or so after that. The last Census was undertaken in 2000.