Farm Business Survey 2016+
Welsh Government | Published May 25, 2015 - Deadline July 16, 2015
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The Farm Business Survey (FBS) is an annual survey of farm businesses in Wales conducted with the primary purpose of collecting detailed physical and financial data about the economic position of farm businesses throughout Wales. The survey is the primary source of information on the economics of farm businesses and is one of the most complex surveys undertaken anywhere in Government. Similar surveys of farm businesses are also conducted in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and other European Union (EU) Member States.
The FBS was first conducted in the 1930s as the Farm Management Survey. The survey was intended to assist in policy formulation, to help improve efficiency on individual farms, and to be a resource for research. Although agricultural policy objectives have evolved since then, the Welsh Government retains the need to monitor and analyse the economic performance of the agricultural industry and to assess the impact of existing and future policies on different farm types, particularly in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The Farm Business Survey is also required for a number of statistical purposes. The FBS is used to produce Welsh Government official statistics on farm businesses in Wales, including on Farm Incomes and Farm Diversification, and makes a significant contribution to the published Forecasts of Farm Incomes and to the production of published statistics on Aggregate Agricultural Output and Income. Figures based on the FBS in Wales are also included in the Agriculture in the United Kingdom publication.
Published FBS data are frequently used by stakeholders including farmers, farming unions, agricultural consultants, banks and universities. FBS data in the form of calculated averages are widely used in the provision of business advice to the farming industry, with such information also included in an on-line benchmarking resource enabling comparisons of farm business performance with other farm business groups across a range of financial measures. More detailed anonymised information from the FBS is also available in the long-run datasets which can be accessed by bona fide researchers via the UK Data Service.
A critical function of the FBS is to enable the Welsh Government (as the relevant liaison agency) to meet its obligations (originally under Council Regulation 79/65/EEC, subsequently expanded under the basic Act of Council Regulation (EC) No 1217/2009) to provide specified data on a stratified sample of farm businesses to the European Commission’s (ECs) Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) each year. The collected FBS data is used to populate the FADN Farm Return which is specified under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 385/2012.
The primary objective of this research is the annual implementation of the Farm Business Survey in Wales. The FBS involves the collection of detailed physical and financial data from a specified, stratified sample (of main farm types and size groups) of ‘commercially viable’ farm businesses in Wales. The data is collected from recruited farmer co-operators through on-site farm visits and the examination, and audit, of each business’s books, records and other relevant paperwork, enabling the production of a comprehensive whole farm account.
The full set of required information will need to be recorded for each farmer co-operator through the use of a pre-specified standardised collection form (the FAS 24) and according to the appropriate codes, instructions and guidance. This information will be used to produce a full profit-and-loss account and a balance sheet for each farm business, and calculations regarding a number of key farm business performance measures.
The FBS also collects important information, where possible, about the non-farming incomes of farmers and their spouses (such as from other employment or self-employment), physical aspects of the farm businesses, for example, on crop areas and stock numbers for use in classifying farm businesses according to its type and size, and also about, for example, countryside maintenance and agri-environment activities.
The Contractor will need to supply “clean” (i.e. passing all of the relevant checking tests) and fully reconciled, completed farm accounts (as specified in the FAS 24 data collection form applicable to the relevant survey year, and the FADN Farm Return) together with “module” study returns (enabling the provision of supplementary information about various aspects of farm businesses and farm households) for each farm in the sample, meeting the sample quotas for the main farm types and size groups and being representative of farm businesses across Wales.
These fully reconciled accounts need to be completed to strict timetables and quality requirements, to provide the Welsh Government with a database of typical farm accounts for statistical purposes. In addition, appropriate feedback to farmer co-operators and the production and publication of annual reports summarising the data collected through the FBS is required.
Of critical importance, the FBS data collection coverage and data quality must meet the full set of current and evolving information requirements of the Welsh Government and also the EC’s FADN, including the requirement to submit completed (and validated) Farm Returns for a specified sub-sample of farm businesses in Wales, as defined in the annual EC FADN Selection Plan. The requirements are subject to a strict timetable, and meeting each of the relevant deadlines is crucial to delivering the aims and objectives of this Specification.
In order to successfully meet the aims of this research, the operation and design of the Farm Business Survey, associated documentation, validation and recording process, and data handling arrangements, will need to keep up to date with changes in agricultural practices and support mechanisms, and the developing data needs of both the Welsh Government and FADN.
This means that the FBS is subject to updating each year and therefore whilst there is a large core of data which is collected every year, there will also be some variation in the data collected to reflect these changing requirements. To meet the data collection and delivery aims, such changes will need to be handled in an adaptable and flexible manner, and effectively implemented by the Contractor to the required timetables.
NOTE: The authority is using eTenderwales to carry out this procurement process. To obtain further information record your interest on Sell2Wales at http://www.sell2wales.gov.uk/search/search_switch.aspx?ID=27188