Responding to the Rural Environmental and Agricultural Commodities Survey


The Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey (REACS) is conducted every year, in between the five-yearly Agricultural Census, with agricultural businesses throughout Australia. Your participation in REACS is essential for understanding Australia’s agricultural production and activity at regional, state and national levels. The statistics from this survey provide vital information which enables industry, business and government to make informed decisions which may assist your community or business going forward. By completing this survey, you help to ensure the results truly reflect the current state of the agricultural sector of the Australian economy.

Click the button below to complete the survey online



Need to contact us about completing your REACS? You can use our online Business Survey Contact Form to outline the details of your situation and your contact details, and we will be in touch.

Thank you for your participation. We acknowledge and value your time and effort participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform important decisions affecting Australia's agriculture industry.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ABOUT THIS SURVEY


HOW TO COMPLETE THIS SURVEY


ABOUT THE QUESTIONS IN THIS SURVEY

USING REACS STATISTICS


ABOUT THIS SURVEY

What questions are asked in REACS?

This survey collects a range of information on land and water use practices and agricultural commodities. Statistics from this survey are produced at regional, state and national levels.

Isn’t the information you’re asking for available elsewhere?

This survey is a critical source of information on the agricultural industry in Australia. However, the ABS is working with industry bodies and other government departments to make better use of available information sources.

Combining data helps provide a clearer picture of Australia than what can be achieved by any one survey alone, and creates new insights about our society and the economy. By using multiple sources of information, we reduce the amount of information that Australian businesses and households need to provide. In this year’s REACS, we have included a question on Property Identification Codes to help with this work.

Why has this business been included in REACS?

REACS is answered by a selected group of businesses or organisations that represent the wider Australian farming community. Businesses or organisations of a range of sizes are included so that the information collected, and estimates produced, are reflective of all agricultural businesses.

We are a small farm or business: should we be included in this survey?

The ABS considers the activities of small businesses or organisations to be as important as larger ones. Therefore, they cannot be excluded from participation in ABS surveys. Smaller businesses or organisations have specific characteristics and can be impacted differently by government policies and incentives. Answering the questions in REACS helps enable government and others to best design policies that support the broad range of businesses across the states and territories of Australia.

How is the information from this survey used? Why is it important?

Your participation in this survey provides us with data that is essential for producing statistics on Australia's agricultural commodity production and activity. This data assists policy makers, industry groups and producers with planning and budgeting, and informs important decisions about agricultural issues.

The information you provide in the survey is not shared with any individuals or organisations outside of the ABS. The statistics published from this survey are drawn upon by a wide variety of individuals and organisations in both the public and private sector, with major users including:
    • National Farmers Federation
    • Agriculture service companies
    • Geoscience Australia
    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Reserve Bank of Australia
    • Commonwealth Department of Treasury and the State Treasuries
    • State and Commonwealth Government departments and agencies
    • Schools, universities and other educational institutions
    • Market analysts and economists
    • Media

Do we have to answer the questions?

Yes. Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, you are obliged to provide the information requested by the ABS. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential.

We recognise that your business may have been impacted by recent unprecedented events, including natural disasters or the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our aim is to ensure that Australia has access to the best possible information on the social and economic impacts of these events. Your participation in our surveys at this time is critical in informing our country’s response. By completing this survey, you help to ensure the results truly reflect the current state of Australian agriculture.

The final question on the REACS form asks about circumstances impacting your agricultural activity, and provides you with the opportunity to comment on your circumstances. You can use this comment box to tell us about current business conditions and your expectations for the coming months, as well as provide any further comments on information you have provided in the survey.

We understand this is a difficult time and we are here to help. We conduct follow-up of delayed response and we will assist you if you are having difficulties.

How long will we need to participate in this survey?

The length of time that a business or organisation is selected in any particular survey will depend on factors such as the size of the business or organisation, the number of businesses or organisations with similar characteristics, and how significant the activities of the business or organisations are to the overall results.

Larger businesses or organisations have a high chance of selection in multiple ABS business surveys. Due to their significant contribution to the overall survey results, they will usually remain in a survey on an ongoing basis.

Smaller businesses or organisations have a lower chance of selection and will usually be included in REACS for three years at a time. However, there are exceptions to this rule and some small businesses or organisations could need to stay in longer than three years, particularly if the business or organisation has a significant impact on measurement of economic activity, for example, due to its type or location.

Due to the large number of smaller businesses or organisations in Australia, they are generally not included in more than one survey at a time. However, there will always be some cases where inclusion in more than one survey cannot be avoided. Where possible, we use data from existing administrative data sources to replace, or reduce, direct data collection from smaller businesses.

Do we have to provide figures for this survey right now?

Yes. The industry, business and government users of REACS statistics need the most accurate and timely information possible so they can make well-informed decisions which impact Australian businesses and communities.

We recognise that your business may have been impacted by recent unprecedented events, including natural disasters or the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If your ability to respond to this survey has been impacted by these events, please contact us. If you'd like to speak to one of our team or need help providing the requested information, please call us on 1800 647 011 and one of our friendly team will assist you.

Will the information we provide be kept safe, secure, and confidential?

Yes. We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your completed form and personal information will remain strictly confidential to the ABS. The information is used to calculate statistics and these are only released in the form of aggregated data. Some very detailed statistics could relate to the data of a single holding. If you are concerned that your holding may be identified you can request for that data to be further aggregated.

The information in this survey is collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under the Act, staff of the ABS are obliged to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of information provided.

We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe we have breached these principles, please see the information on how to lodge a complaint about privacy matters, contained within our privacy policy.

Will we be paid for our time?

No. There is no provision within the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse individuals, businesses or organisations for the cost of providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

Do we still need to complete the survey if the business was sold before the beginning of, or during the reference period?

Please complete your survey form with comments indicating the sale of the entity and the date of the sale. This will help determine whether the business will be selected in the next survey reference period.

If the business operated by the selected entity (e.g. ABN) was sold during the reference period, then the survey should be completed using figures up to, and including, the day that the business was sold, as well as figures relating to any other new activity undertaken by the selected entity for the remainder of the financial year. Please also provide the name of the new business owners.

Do we still need to complete the survey if the business is still operating but didn't trade during the reference period?

You will still need to submit your survey with comments stating that your business/organisation did not trade this year. You do not need to include any figures or zero values.

Do we still need to complete the survey if the business has gone into liquidation or administration during the reference period?

Please complete the survey using figures up to, and including, the day that the business was liquidated or went into administration. It is also important to report the date that this occurred.

If you are unable to access the accounts, then the liquidator or administrator should complete the survey. Where this is not possible, best available estimates of the data should be provided. It is acceptable to provide an estimate based on a percentage change from the previous year’s figures. Where estimates are not possible, please call us on 1800 647 011 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

We have already completed the survey and have received a reminder letter. What should we do?

If you have received a reminder letter about completing a survey, it is likely that you have returned the survey at the same time as we issued your reminder notice. If you wish to confirm this, please call one of our team on 1800 647 011 and we will check the information against our records.


HOW TO COMPLETE THIS SURVEY

How do we answer REACS?

There are two ways you can complete this survey.

1. Online

If you have received a letter from us with a Form Access Code, you can access and complete your survey form online using that code. Go online to our ABS Survey Account, set up an account, or if you already have one, log in, and then add your Form Access Code to retrieve the form. If you are unable to complete your survey online, or have not received the letter we sent you, please call us on 1800 647 011 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

The ABS survey account is a secure service that allows a form to be accessed as many times as is needed before final submission. After submission of a survey, you will not be able to access the contents. If you are concerned that you have provided incorrect information, please call us on 1800 647 011 and one of our team will be happy to assist you. When you have set up an ABS survey account, the same account can be used to access and answer future surveys.

2. Paper form

If you have received a letter from us with an enclosed paper form, please complete the form and return it to us using the Reply Paid envelope provided. Alternatively, you can complete the form online. Instructions on how to complete the form online are written on the front of the paper form.

We’re having trouble completing the survey online – where can we find help?

For more information on completing our surveys online, help is available on our Survey Account Help page. This page provides assistance with technical difficulties and includes frequently asked questions which assist in creating and using the ABS Survey Account. If you are having trouble creating or accessing your account, completing the survey online, or haven't received your Form Access Code, please call us on 1800 647 011 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.


ABOUT THE QUESTIONS IN THIS SURVEY

How accurate do the figures need to be?

We require information to be as accurate as possible. The information supplied by your business is used to produce estimates which represent businesses within the same industry operating in Australia. The more accurate the figures you supply, the more accurate the estimates will be. However, if final production figures are unknown or not available, careful estimates will be accepted.

Why is the survey form we have received full of questions about activities in which we are not involved?

We design this survey form to capture a wide range of commodities and agricultural production practices undertaken across all regions, territories and states. Therefore, there will always be some questions on each form that are not relevant to some agricultural businesses.

Why can't we see the figures we provided last year in the current survey web form?

Due to strict privacy policy guidelines protecting the information submitted by our data providers, we create new survey forms that do not contain previously submitted data. We recommend printing or saving a PDF copy of the submission receipt after submitting your web form, so that you have a copy for your records.


USING REACS STATISTICS

How can this business use REACS statistics?

We provide statistics free of charge on our website. Statistics produced from REACS on commodity estimates will be released in the publication Agricultural Commodities, Australia. Water estimates will be released in the publication Water use on Australian Farms.

Our website also provides additional and up-to-date information over and above our existing statistical releases to enhance understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19.

How can we provide feedback about our involvement in REACS?

If you have participated in this survey, or any of our other surveys, we want to hear about your experience. We value your feedback and will use it to improve how we work with our survey participants.

You can use the final comment box at the end of the form to tell us about your experience participating in the REACS survey, along with any suggested improvements to the form.

You can also use our feedback form to provide us with feedback. For this survey, please select the option "Participation in an ABS Business Survey".

Who can we contact for more information?

For help, or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 647 011 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back.

You can also use our online Business Survey Contact Form to outline the details of your situation and your contact details, and we will be in touch.