Environment and Countryside Management: Results from the Farm Business Survey
- Published by:
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Last updated:
- 04 September 2015
- Open Government Licence
These results cover which environmental activities are being carried out and the reasons for doing so. They also cover the area of various habitats found on farms. Source agency: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Designation: National Statistics Language: English Alternative title: Environment and Countryside Management: Results from the Farm Business Survey
Countryside Maintenance and Management in England 2010/11
The latest statistics produced by Defra on Countryside Maintenance and Management Activities (CMMA) were released on 28 June 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. The release shows final estimates for countryside maintenance and management activities on farms in England. These are sourced from the 2010/11 Farm Business Survey (FBS) which covers the 2010 harvest and can be accessed via the link below. This workbook provides tables of data used in the release or to create charts used in the release. In addition there is further data from the survey that was not used in the release.
Background to the Survey Countryside and agri-environment practices have become increasingly important in English agriculture. Whilst many farmers have always been aware of the habitats on and around their farms, the reforms in government payments to farmers have ensured that nearly all farmers now need to consider these issues. In particular, the concept of ‘cross-compliance’ introduced in 2005 alongside the Single Payment Scheme means that most farmers have to follow basic environmental standards.
There are a number of potential sources of data on the management practices adopted by farmers to protect and enhance the environment. Questions on these issues were included in the Farm Business Survey (FBS) for the first time in the 2005/06 survey. The FBS is an interview survey specifically aimed at collecting accounting information, and allows the inclusion of more complex questions. By using the FBS, relationships between countryside maintenance and management activities and farm type, size, profitability and location can be explored. The countryside maintenance and management module was repeated in 2006/07 and in 2008/09 was expanded to give a more detailed picture of activities being carried out. For the 2010/11 survey the module was further expanded to include questions on the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE), results from which were published on 16th February 2012 here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/farmmanage/fbs/publications/envcountryman/ Information on countryside maintenance and management activities is important in helping to understand what famers are doing to protect and enhance the environment and their reasons for doing so; which in turn can help shape policy decisions. It is important, for example, in the context of structural change and CAP reform, including issues surrounding the balance between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 payments. The results from this module will also inform the planning of the next Rural Development Programme, in particular the agri-environment measures. The information will also feed into wider research examining competitiveness of the farming industry, e.g. any links between agricultural performance and countryside maintenance and management activities. Survey Methodology The results provided in this release are from the questions relating to Countryside Maintenance and Management Activities (CMMA) which were included in the 2010/11 FBS campaign. The questions were asked during the period January to September 2011 The FBS is an annual survey providing information on the financial position and physical and economic performance of farm businesses in England. The sample of around 1,900 farm businesses covers all regions of England and all types of farming with the data being collected by face to face interview with the farmer. Results are weighted to represent the whole population of farm businesses that have at least 25,000 Euros of standard output as recorded in the annual June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture. In 2010 there were just over 56,000 farm businesses meeting this criteria. For the 2010/11 FBS, an additional countryside maintenance and management ‘module’ was included to collect areas of land under various environmental activities and the associated costs of managing this land. Only those farms in the FBS which were managing the land in a positive manner were eligible to complete the module (henceforth referred to as eligible farms). Positive management was defined as any land management measures or activities that deliver a positive environmental outcome. Details of the questions asked can be found here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/farmmanage/fbs/aboutfbs/datacollection/forms/ For further information about the Farm Business Survey please see: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/farmmanage/fbs/ Data analysis As stated above, the results from the FBS relate to farms which have a standard output of at least 25,000 Euros. Initial weights are applied to the FBS records based on the inverse sampling fraction. These weights are then adjusted (calibration weighting) so that they can produce unbiased estimators of a number of different target variables. As detailed in the Survey Methodology section above, the countryside maintenance and management module was a voluntary addition to the main FBS commitment and achieved a response rate of 77% for eligible farms. In order to take account of non-response, the results have been reweighted using a method that preserves marginal totals for populations according to farm type, farm size groups and agri-environment scheme membership. The results have been further restricted to relate only to the population of eligible farms i.e. those managing some of their land in a positive manner. Comparisons between 2008/09 and 2010/11 Results from the 2008/09 and 2010/11 countryside maintenance and management modules are not directly comparable due to changes in the coverage of the survey and changes in the classification of farms for the 2010/11 campaign. In 2010/11 the survey was restricted to include farms which have a least 25,000 Euros of standard output; prior to this the survey was restricted to farms with ½ Standard Labour Requirement or more. The classification of farms into farm types was also revised for the 2010/11 Farm Business Survey, to bring the classification in line with European guidelines. Equivalent results from 2008/09 have been presented alongside 2010/11 results in many of the charts and tables; however comparisons should be treated with extreme caution due to the reasons given above. To enable more robust comparisons between the 2008/09 and 2010/11 countryside maintenance and management modules to be reported, we have examined the subset of farms that participated and have some form of activity in both years (approximately 900 farms). For all analyses we have used the farm type, farm size and tenure groups as defined on the 2010/11 dataset. For this subset of farms we have carried out significance testing using the Wilcoxon signed rank test to determine whether the differences observed between the two time periods are statistically significant. Where a statistically significant difference has been observed this has been indicated on the tables and charts for the full module results with a *. Commentary alongside the charts and tables will refer to this analysis rather than make comparisons with the 2008/09 data displayed. Accuracy and reliability of the results Where possible, relative standard error (RSE) and 95% confidence intervals have been shown in the tables. RSE is derived from the standard error, which is a measure of the variation in the data. Typically, large estimates also have large standard errors. The standard error divided by the estimated total gives the RSE. This is expressed as a percentage and is easier to interpret than the standard error. Low RSEs indicate greater reliability in the figures, whereas estimates with high RSEs should be treated with caution.
95% confidence intervals show the range of values that may apply to the figures. They mean that we are 95% confident that the true value lies within this range either side of the estimate. They are calculated as the standard errors (se) multiplied by 1.96 to give the 95% confidence interval (95% CI). The standard errors only give an indication of the sampling error. They do not reflect any other sources of survey errors, such as non-response bias. The confidence limits shown are appropriate for comparing groups within the same year; they should not be used for comparing 2010/11 results with those from 2008/09 since they do not allow for the fact that many of the same farms contributed to both surveys.
Estimates based on less than 5 observations have been suppressed to prevent disclosure of the identity of the contributing farms. Estimates based on less than 15 observations have been highlighted in italics in the tables and should be treated with caution as they are likely to be less precise.
Availability of results
Defra statistical notices can be viewed on the Food and Farming Statistics pages on the Defra website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/. This site also shows details of future publications, with pre-announced dates.
Results from the 2010/11 FBS:
Provisional estimates of farm business income for 2011/12:
Campaign for the Farmed Environment, Results from the Farm Business Survey 2010/11:
Countryside maintenance and management activities
The countryside maintenance and management section of the FBS recorded a variety of data for 28 specific activities. For Tables 6 and 7 and Figures 10 and 11 these activities were grouped according to their equivalent agri-environment scheme options from the Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Organic Entry Level Stewardship. Details of the schemes can be found in Section 3 of the Entry Level Stewardship Environmental Stewardship Handbook, available for download at:
http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/30034?category=45001 Cost of Countryside maintenance and management activities The costs charged against CMMA for the purpose of this analysis are the total of nine individual costs recorded against each managed feature. These are: Variable costs Paid labour costs Unpaid labour costs Machinery costs Contracting costs Farmer & spouse labour Capital costs Capital grants Property repairs, maintenance & upkeep Size of farm businesses Farm business size in the United Kingdom is measured in Standard Labour Requirements (SLR) expressed in terms of full-time equivalents (FTE). Five size groups are defined for this report: Spare-time (less than or equal to 0.5 FTE) Part-time (greater than 0.5 FTE and less than 1.0) Small (greater than or equal to 1 FTE and less than 2) Medium (greater than or equal to 2 FTE and less than 3)
Large (greater than or equal to 3 FTE and less than 5)
Very large (greater than or equal to 5 FTE)
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