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Farm Structure Survey


The Farm Structure Survey (FSS), also known as the Survey on the structure of agricultural holdings, is carried out to collect data on land use and its utilisation, livestock numbers, rural development, land use, livestock numbers, rural development, management and farm labour force.

The census of agriculture, also known as the Survey on Agricultural Production Methods (SAPM) additionally provides results on agricultural production methods.

The legal basis for the FSS and SAPM is regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008 of 19 November 2008, which repealed Council Regulation 571/88.

Methodological description of survey

The FSS is carried out every 3 years between Agriculture Censuses.  Censuses are conducted every ten years, in years ending with “0”. 

For the FSS around 1,500 farmers are selected from the agricultural register.  The optimum allocation method is used for selecting agricultural holdings and strata are defined according to the farm typology codes and the economic size class of the holding.

A letter is sent in advance to the chosen farmers which informs them that they have been selected to participate in such a survey.  An initial contact is then made between the interviewer and the farmer and an appointment is set for face-to-face interviews. 

To reduce burden on respondents, other FSS data is collected from other administrative sources and surveys.  These include data on organic area from the organic farming register, cattle, sheep and goats data from the bovine register, pigs’ data from the annual pigs census, and rural development data from the Agriculture and Rural Payments Agency (ARPA).

Accuracy and reliability of data

Further information about accuracy and reliability of data can be viewed from the quality reports available on the NSO’s metadata website.   

Timeliness and punctuality of data

A news release on FSS is published every three years, following the collection of FSS data.  Similarly, a news release is published every ten years following the Census of Agriculture.  These are published on the NSO’s website as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar.  

Data is always collected and sent to Eurostat within 12 months after the end of the survey year.

Accessibility and clarity of data

Tables on the FSS are also included in the annual publication ‘Agriculture and Fisheries’ which is available on the NSO’s website.  The publication was last published in 2016 for reference year 2014.

A quality report of the data collection is compiled according to an established structure and sent to Eurostat.  A similar report on FSS is available on the NSO’s metadata website.  

A publication related to the Census of Agriculture is also disseminated every 10 years following the collection of the data.  Past publications cover reference periods between October 2000 and September 2001, and from September 2009 to August 2010.

 Coherence and comparability / consistency of data

Data collected from this survey is comparable with data from other European Union member states as all countries follow the definitions laid out in the handbook on implementing the FSS and SAPM.  FSS data is fully comparable as from 2003 onwards and also with the data from the Census of Agriculture.

Data on livestock collected in the FSS, is comparable to the annual administrative data collected on livestock data.

​ Metadata

​​​Questionnaires: ​ ​
Farm Structure Survey
Census of Agriculture

 Contact Information:

Communication and Dissemination 
2599 7219