CSO defers collection of data for agriculture census

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has announced its decision to defer the collection of data for the Agricultural Census due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The collection of the census was due to begin on June 1 this year. However, the CSO explained in a statement that “key tasks between now and June cannot be completed”.

Alternative options to facilitate the collection of data are currently being assessed, including the possibility of alternative dates.

The CSO said that it has been in contact with Eurostat – the European Commission body responsible for statistical information – as well as “key users” of agricultural statistics about the “best way forward to compile the in-depth data on Irish agriculture which this 10-yearly census provides”.

The CSO said it would notify data users and the farming community when a new date for collection of the data has been agreed.

It also thanked farmers for their “continued cooperation” when completing CSO questionnaires.

The EU-wide census, which is carried out every 10 years, is aimed at collecting, processing and publishing data it collects on farming in each EU member state. The census uses several methods, including interviews with farmers.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, some 10.5 million farmers across the EU were expected to be involved in the process.

Each of the member states is tasked with collecting set data for farmers, and farms above certain physical thresholds, in their country.

The census, when it goes ahead, will see teams of supervisors and enumerators conduct the collection of data, overseen by a combination of civil servants.

These officials will collect the data through farm registers, administrative sources and surveys, among other methods.