§ Sir John Farr
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the repetitious nature of the information required from farmers and horticulturalists by virtue of the Agricultural Statistics Act 1979, he will arrange for such returns in future to be on an annual or biennial basis.
§ Mr. Ryder
Most of the information required under the Agricultural Statistics Act 1979 is collected annually, in the June agricultural census. This covers farm holdings above a specified threshold size and results in a wide range of statistical data which are necessary for Government purposes and are also much valued by the industry. Twenty per cent. of holdings are smaller, and are enumerated only every five years or so.
Information on some items is also collected at other points in the year, to meet particular needs, but normally only from a sample of farmers. The need for statistical surveys, their content and their frequency are kept under regular review.