7105.0 - ABS Agriculture Statistics Collection Strategy - 2008-09 and beyond, 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/02/2009   
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The future ABS Agricultural Statistical Program

The strategy for the future ABS Agricultural Statistics Program outlined in the initial issue of Agriculture Statistics Strategy - 2008-09 and beyond (cat. no. 7105.0) is designed to meet the increasingly diverse demand for information in relation to Australian agricultural sector.

The ABS is proposing to change the timing and the content of both its Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (NRM) Survey programs. In summary the future ABS Agricultural Program survey strategy will consist of an annual survey (or Census every fifth year) but with variable content and/or sample size, and the biennial NRM survey strategy will move forward by one year to better meet the reporting needs of the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative. This means for the 2008-09 reference year, there will be no ABS NRM survey conducted.

The new program has been designed to provide:

    1. annual core agricultural commodity data;
    2. an expanded list of commodities to be collected periodically, including in each five-yearly Agricultural Census;
    3. water use and land use data requirements annually;
    4. additional water information collected every four years to assist the compilation of the ABS Water Account;
    5. resource management and practice information collected biennially; and
    6. capacity to adapt to new information priorities as they arise.

2008-09 Agricultural Survey - Scope and coverage

The 2008-09 Agricultural Survey is the first survey to be undertaken as part of this strategy. As such it will collect an expanded set of commodity data (equivalent to previous agricultural surveys) and comprehensive water data (required for the 2008-09 Water Account) in addition to the standard annual content of water and land use data.

The 2008-09 survey will be in the format of a single national form dispatched to approximately 30,000 agricultural businesses.

The 2008-09 survey will meet client expectations that the ABS provide a detailed list of commodity production information and water use information relevant to the 2008-09 reference period. It will collect data on a wide range of agricultural commodities, livestock numbers, land use, water use and management and water-related expenditure. The main data items collected will include area of holding, area and production data for cereals and other broadacre crops, vegetables and fruit, and number of livestock on holding. Water data will include area irrigated, volume of water used, sources of water, application methods and water related expenditure. The land use questions, as collected on the 2007-08 Agricultural Resource Management Survey, will also be included.

The 2008-09 Agricultural Survey will be sourced from an Australian Business Register (ABR)-based frame. This will be the fourth survey using this frame and will allow for real world comparisons to be made with data from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census, the 2006-07 Agricultural Survey and the 2007-08 Agricultural Resource Management Survey. In-scope agricultural businesses include farm businesses, above a minimum size cut-off, which are registered on the ABR maintained by the Australian Taxation Office. The minimum size cut-off is an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) or a turnover (as shown on the Business Activity Statement) of $5,000.

The reference period for the 2008-09 Agricultural Survey is the financial year ended 30 June 2009.