The Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) is an instrument for evaluating the income of agricultural holdings and the impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy. The concept of the FADN was launched in 1965, when Council Regulation 79/65 established the legal basis for the organisation of the network. It consists of an annual survey carried out by the Member States of the European Union. The services responsible in the Union for the operation of the FADN collect every year accountancy data from a sample of the agricultural holdings in the European Union. Derived from national surveys, the FADN is the only source of microeconomic data that is harmonised, i.e. the bookkeeping principles are the same in all countries. Holdings are selected to take part in the survey on the basis of sampling plans established at the level of each region in the Union. The survey does not cover all the agricultural holdings in the Union but only those which due to their size could be considered commercial. The methodology applied aims to provide representative data along three dimensions: region, economic size and type of farming. While the European Commission is the primary user of analyses based on FADN-data, aggregated data can be found in the Standard Results database.
The aim of the network is to gather accountancy data from farms for the determination of incomes and business analysis of agricultural holdings. Currently, the annual sample covers approximately 80.000 holdings. They represent a population of about 5.000.000 farms in the EU, which covers approximately 90% of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA) and account for about 90% of the total agricultural production. The information collected, for each sample farm, concerns approximately 1000 variables and is transmitted by Liaison Agencies. These variables described in a specific questionnaire called Farm Return refer to:
- Physical and structural data, such as location, crop areas, livestock numbers, labour force, etc.
- Economic and financial data, such as the value of production of the different crops, stocks, sales and purchases, production costs, assets, liabilities, production quotas and subsidies, including those connected with the application of CAP measures.
Liaison Agencies collect data
The Commission does not directly collect data itself. This is the responsibility of a Liaison Agency in each Member State and is either undertaken by the Liaison Agency itself or by bodies nominated by it. For the purposes of FADN each Liaison Agency is guided by a National FADN Committee.
To ensure that this sample reflects the heterogeneity of farming before the sample of farms, Liaison Agencies stratify the field of observation is defined according to 3 criteria: region, economic size and type of farming. Farms are selected in the sample according to a selection plan that guarantees its representativity. An individual weight is applied to each farm in the sample, this corresponding to the number of farms in the 3-way stratification cell of the field of observations divided by the number of farms in the corresponding cell in the sample. This weighting system is used in the calculation of standard results. More details can be found in the Methodology chapter.
The standard results are a set of statistics, calculated from the Farm Returns that are periodically produced and published by the Commission. They describe in considerable detail the economic situation of farmers by different groups.
Reimbursement by the Commission
The Commission recognizes that participation in the FADN survey imposes a cost on the Liaison Agencies. A payment is made for each successfully completed Farm Return received by the Commission.
FADN is principally concerned with agriculture
The FADN survey covers the entire range of agricultural activities on farms. Moreover, it also collects data on non-agricultural farming activities (such as tourism and forestry).
FADN is guided by a Committee
The FADN is guided by a management committee which generally meets twice a year. The committee is known as the FADN Committee and consists of representatives of the Liaison Agencies of the Member States. It is chaired by a staff member of the Commission and amongst its other duties considers all legislation relating to FADN.