7100.1 - Agricultural Census: Nature and Content, 2015-16  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/02/2016  First Issue
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Agricultural Census data is collected directly from agricultural businesses through the use of a self-completed survey form. A basic web form reporting option was introduced for the 2010-11 Agricultural Census and subsequent annual surveys, and this reporting option has been steadily increasing in popularity, with many farmers finding this to be a faster and more convenient means of reporting their data.

For 2015-16 further enhancements are being made to the web form to improve the experience and efficiency for responding businesses. The new web form design is intuitive, will have some basic information pre-filled (where possible) and will intelligently stream businesses past sections of the form that are not relevant to them. The use of additional filter or streaming questions, will contribute to enhancing the reporting experience and reducing respondent burden. Alternative reporting options will be made available for those unable to complete a web form.

In 2015-16 the ABS is also conducting a Land Management Practices Survey (LAMPS). LAMPS will collect data on land management practices undertaken by agricultural businesses to monitor and inform the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative, a component of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), and the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Information from LAMPS also supports the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources key reporting obligations including; the National Land Care Program; key performance indicators regarding sustaining natural resources; and reporting against international agricultural initiatives. Where applicable, agricultural businesses selected in both the Agricultural Census and LAMPS will receive one combined web form, where questions common to both collections will only be asked once. This will significantly assist agricultural businesses to manage their reporting requirements in a faster and more convenient manner. Confirmed final content for the 2015-16 Land Management Practices Survey will be released along with the final content for the 2015-16 Agricultural Census as an update to this paper in early 2016.

The ABS will be engaging directly with the agricultural community and with industry bodies leading up to the Census to encourage survey participation and promote the benefits of the web form. Increasing the usage of the streamlined web form reporting option is expected to reduce the burden on agricultural businesses and increase the quality of the data.