Agricultural censuses in the European Union
The European Union (EU) Farm structure survey (FSS) collects information on the structural characteristics of the agricultural holdings (land use, livestock and labour force)and is carried out by all European Union Member States every 10 years as an Agricultural Census, with two or three additional, intermediate sample surveys carried out in-between. Agricultural Censuses have been conducted in the European Union since 1966. The last Agricultural Census was carried out in 2010. Only Greece, Spain and Portugal are allowed to conduct the census in 2009. EU legal acts determine which indicators must be collected by all EU member states during the census and how and when these indicators should be provided to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat). In the EU countries, the census is conducted in order to have information comparable between the countries which would allow analyzing the state of agriculture at EU level and estimating the implementation of the EU agricultural policy and development possibilities.
Agricultural censuses in Lithuania: Historical Review
The first overall Agricultural Census in Lithuania was conducted in 1930. A publication on this census (Visuotinis Lietuvos Žemes Ukio Surašymas. 1930 - Vytauto Didžiojo - metai gruodžio men. 30 d., Kaunas: 1932) provides: "An overall Agricultural Census, which took place on December 30, 1930 - the year of Vytautas the Great, was the first agricultural census in Lithuania. Agricultural censuses had not been conducted either before the War or after the restoration of Lithuania's independence. Agricultural statistics on crop area, crop conditions, harvest, the number of livestock and wages had been based on correspondents' reports. In the congress of the International Institute of Agriculture in 1926, a common census form had been adopted for all countries and census date - 1929 and 1930 - had been specified. Lithuania, as a member of the International Institute of Agriculture, had accepted this invitation and promised to conduct a census at the time specified. On July 14, 1930 - the year of Vytautas the Great - the law on agricultural census had been passed; on October 31, the Cabinet of Ministers had determined the census rules. The Agricultural Census in the whole Republic started on 30 December 1930. The census lasted for about ten days and all data were recorded as on the night of the 30th/31st of December. The census was prepared, conducted and data were processed by the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB) under the Ministry of Finance."
During the Soviet period, data on agricultural crop area, gardens and berry fields, the number of livestock and poultry, tractors and other agricultural machines and buildings were provided by kolkhozes and sovkhozes, while data on agricultural parcels of inhabitants were calculated using a sampling method or administrative documents (agricultural record books of executive committees of districts). Livestock censuses were conducted periodically - every five years, census on agricultural crop area, gardens and berry fields - every ten years. Data were provided in the publications Agriculture and statistical yearbooks published by the Central Statistics Board. The second Agricultural Census in Independent Lithuania (also referred to as the first Agricultural Census after re-establishment of Independence) was conducted on 2-30 June 2003 . Private land owners and agricultural entities were interviewed. The census was prepared in order to estimate the number of farmers and their distribution by category in regional administrative units, to receive data on farming purposes, land used, agricultural crop area, gardens and berry fields, agricultural equipment, buildings, non-agricultural business, and to find out the number of persons employed and duration of their employment. The 2003 Agricultural Census was followed by two sample farm structure surveys (FSS) in 2005 and 2007, and then the 2010 Agricultural Census.
An agricultural census is a statistical survey of all farms (agricultural holdings) producing agricultural products, conducted on a national scale, through which comprehensive statistical data on agriculture are collected.The objective of the census is obtain accurate statistical data required for the analysis of the development of agriculture in Lithuania, assessing changes that took place in agriculture after Lithuania’s accession to the EU, agricultural development potential, efficiency of and future demand for EU support. The successful course of the census is very important as it is a kind of a snapshot of agriculture in Lithuania – the most comprehensive information on the situation in agriculture. The availability of detailed statistical data is an indispensable condition for making informed decisions about the amount, type and timing of support for Lithuanian farmers.
Under EU legislation, all EU countries are to conduct agricultural censuses once in a decade. The most recent agricultural census in the EU was conducted in 1999–2000 (in Lithuania, in 2003, i.e. before the accession to the EU). In 2010, agricultural censuses will be conducted by all EU countries.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
During the Census, farmers' and family farms, agricultural companies and enterprises growing agricultural crops or keeping farm animals were surveyed.
In the course of the census, farmers were asked to provide the following statistical data:
- land area (owned and leased);
- land area by agricultural land category;
- type and area of orchards and berry plantations, species of and land under agricultural crops;
- species and number of farm animals kept;
- number of items of agricultural equipment, area (capacity) of agricultural buildings;
- family members working on the farm: age, vocational qualification in agriculture, average daily number of hours worked on the farm, other paid employment;
- permanent hired workers: number, hours worked, other paid employment;
- number of days worked by temporary hired workers;
- agricultural production methods;
- other (non-agricultural) activity.
The object of the census is a farm (agricultural holding) – an entity which is independent in both technical and economic terms, having one manager, producing agricultural products or maintaining land which is not used for the production of agricultural products in good agricultural and environmental condition. A farm may also produce additional, non-agricultural products or provide services. For this reason, in the course of the census, all farms producing agricultural products were interviewed, irrespective of the fact whether they do or do not have a farmer’s certificate. Even farms producing agricultural products only for their own needs were interviewed.
In the course of the agricultural census, the following entities were interviewed:
- all farms with usable agricultural land area of 1 ha and more;
- all farms with usable agricultural land area of less than 1 ha;
- all agricultural companies and enterprises.
Producers and sponsors
Agricultural Structure and Census Subdivision
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Agricultural census 2010 was carried out by Statistics Lithuania according to the European Union regulation and the national acts. Statistics Lithuania was responsible for the methodological, technical and organisational preparation of the census; data were collected with the help of five regional statistical offices.
Pilot agricultural census
For the purpose of better preparing for the upcoming census, Statistics Lithuania organizes a pilot agricultural census in May–June 2009. It will take place in Garliava rural eldership of Kaunas district.
The purpose of the pilot agricultural census is to check organizational and methodological provisions of the Agricultural Census 2010, to specify the phrasing of questions in the census questionnaire, to test logical and arithmetical control conditions of data input in the census questionnaire.
A pilot agricultural census questionnaire has been prepared for the pilot census, based on which the census questionnaire of the Agricultural Census 2010 will be prepared.
Enumerators worked at ward offices at the time of crop declaration (from 3 May to 30 June 2010); they interviewed farmers coming to the offices to submit declarations. Those farmers who do not declare crops but cultivate land and (or) keep animals, poultry or bees also were invited to visit ward offices according to their place of residence on 3 May–30 June 2010 to answer census questionnaires. Those farmers who had not declare crops and had not visited ward offices to provide data on 3 May–30 June 2010 were visited by enumerators. An electronic questionnaire has also been prepared, which may be filled out and submitted online via an electronic data collection system of Statistics Lithuania. Enumerators were visiting only those farms which had not been enumerated in ward offices or had not submitted statistical data through the Internet.
Based on the experience from the pilot census, the 2010 Agricultural Census of the Republic of Lithuania questionnaire was prepared. The questionnaire contained questions about the area of agricultural land used by farms (whether their own or leased), areas under gardens and berry fields, agricultural crops and their areas, the species and number of the farm animals kept, the agricultural machinery and equipment used, the area (capacity) of farm buildings, family members working on a farm (their age, professional background in agriculture, the average daily number of hours worked on a farm, other paid work done), the number of permanently hired workers, their time worked, other paid work done, the number of days worked by temporarily hired workers, agricultural production methods, another (non-agricultural) activity.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.