|In the work process several stages can be distinguished: determination of the content and format of the questionnaire, development of the web application, training of temporary personnel, data-collection (via the web application), pre-processing (at RVO), processing and analysis, dissemination and delivery of FSS/SAPM data to Eurostat.
In the following table, the working process phases are placed in time.
||Working process phase
||Determination of the content and format of the questionnaire
||April 2015 – November 2015
||August 2015 – March 2016
||February 2016 – March 2016
||April 2016 – September 2016
||Pre-processing phase (RVO)
||April 2016 – January 2017
||Processing and analysis phase
||May 2016 – March 2017
||September 2016 - April 2017
||FSS delivery phase
||May 2017 - October 2017
||FSS validation phase
||October 2017 - (...)
1. Determination of the content and format of the questionnaire
A number of organisations active in the agricultural sector in the Netherlands is involved in this process. The data need is inventoried involving a group of experts. This group of experts forms a permanent working group on the census characteristics. The working group meets every year in March or April to discuss the characteristics of the census of the next year. After approval of the list of characteristics, drafts of the questionnaire and explanatory notes are drawn up and validated by the working group. A large number of questions and characteristics are constant over the years. A small number of questions expires, changes or is newly introduced (if properly motivated). In 2016 the additional questions required for the Farm Structure Survey 2016 were added to the list of characteristics.
2. Development phase
Statistics Netherlands and RVO, in cooperation with the expert group, prepare the questionnaire by formulating the questions and the explanatory notes. Since 2006 it is possible to fill in the questionnaire using a web application. The number of respondents using the internet has since rapidly increased, and in 2016 the use of the web application became compulsory. RVO is responsible for building, testing and maintaining the web application. In the web application definitions and explanatory notes are available through information buttons. Controls are, as far as possible, integrated in the web application.
3. Training phase (RVO)
RVO is responsible for the training of the employees. Training is particularly aimed at temporary personnel for the helpdesk and the controlling process. Partly, this training is on forehand and partly it is on the job.
4. Data-collection phase(RVO)
Each holder receives a summon to participate in the census before the starting date of the survey (1 April). Farmers have to fill in the form before 15 May. Farmers that do not respond receive several postal reminders. After 15 May farmers may be fined or may receive less financial aid. The data-collection phase ended 1 September. The electronic forms are stored in the RVO database.
5. Pre-processing phase (RVO)
Many checks are already implemented in the web application. After the respondent submits his form, additional checks are performed by RVO. If necessary the respondent is contacted to check the given answers or to correct errors. During this phase data is regularly sent to Statistics Netherlands for further checking and analysis. By the end of January 2017 the pre-processing phase ended; at that time 95% of the forms were received and processed.
6. Processing and analysing phase
At Statistics Netherlands a more advanced check is performed on for instance internal contradictions and differences with the trends and results of previous years. Calculations are made for composed indicators. The data are rearranged, selected and transformed for dissemination purposes. Since the agricultural census is exhaustive the results are used as a sample base for other statistics such as yield assessments, labour and productivity statistics and environmental statistics.
7. Dissemination Phase
The main publication is the Statline database which is available on the internet (www.cbs.nl). In this database internet-users may select their own indicators and information topics. First results from the 2016 survey were published in September 2016 and the final results in April 2017. Several times a year short publications on specific subjects are presented in the form of newspaper reports or internet-magazine articles.
8. FSS delivery phase
The first phases focus primarily on the national census characteristics. After finalization of the national census characteristics attention shifted to the FSS characteristics. After additional analyses and checks against the FSS validation rules the dataset was delivered to Eurostat.
9. FSS/SAPM validation phase
After the delivery of the FSS dataset the validation process started. In this phase the validation tables were evaluated and the NMR was drawn up.