One of the original systems for gathering and analysing information about farm revenues following the establishment of the Common Agricultural Policy - the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) – marks its 50th Anniversary this week.
Also known by its French acronym RICA, Réseau d'Information Comptable Agricole, the network is primarily a European system of sample national surveys conducted every year to collect accountancy data from farms, with the aim of monitoring the income and business activities of EU agricultural holdings.
Speaking today, EU Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "I am pleased to congratulate the Farm Accountancy Data Network on its 50th anniversary. The network makes an essential contribution to shaping and evaluating policy and contributes to ensuring that the CAP runs smoothly. After the first half century of work, I look forward to the network continuing to provide its very useful analysis long into the future."
FADN surveys do not cover all agricultural holdings, but those considered to be most commercial. It is estimated that these samples cover approximately 90% of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA) and account for about 90% of total agricultural production.
The methodology applied aims to provide representative data along three dimensions: region, economic size and type of farming.
Derived from national surveys, the FADN is the only source of microeconomic data based on harmonised bookkeeping principles.
After their validation, aggregated yearly data are made available in the online public database, and analyses and reports based on FADN data are published on the FADN website.
Computerisation has significantly facilitated the provision of data in recent years, but there are still regular Committee meetings of Member State experts/liaison officers 3-4 times a year in order to discuss results and trends, and ways of further improving the FADN system.
To mark 50 years of existence, raise the awareness of this big and well-established network as the only source of harmonized farm accountancy data at EU level and look how it can remain fit for purpose, the Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development is organizing a 1-day event on 11 June 2015 in Brussels, inviting renowned experts and various stakeholders in the field.