New resource on eresources@cambridge A-Z / LibGuides Databases A-Z: agcensus online
The University Library Map Department is pleased to have enabled access to the agcensus online resource from Edina which can be accessed now via Shibboleth login here:
The Agricultural Census is conducted in June each year by the government departments dealing with Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Scotland, England, and Wales (see appropriate governmental website for the devolved region). Each farmer declares the agricultural activity on the land via a postal questionnaire. The respective government departments collect the 150 items of data and publish information relating to farm holdings for recognised geographies.
Conversion of Agricultural Census Data
The Edinburgh University Data Library has developed algorithms which convert the data for recognised geographies, obtained from the government departments, into grid square estimates. The key to transforming the raw data into grid square data is the definition of each geography (e.g. parish, in the case of Scotland) in terms of 1km squares. Agricultural Census items are distributed over those 1km grid squares with the land use category suitable for the census item in question. The categories are defined by the Landuse Framework, a 7-fold land-use classification of the same 1km grid squares (the seven land-use categories are agricultural land, upland, woodland, restricted agriculture – natural, restricted agriculture – artificial, urban, and inland water).
Shifts in financial policy, environmental concerns, technological advances and food safety issues, among other issues, have recently influenced farming. Commercial survival can often depend on responding appropriately to those changes. The Agricultural Census grid square estimates can help to understand the nature and extent of change.
Land use data could be the key to a marketing strategy. Whether a business is selling to the industry, or buying from it, Agricultural Census production data conveys a vivid picture of the real farming situation. Mapping the distribution of a production item allows an organisation to make informed decisions on planning and policy.
New business opportunities
Agricultural data could alert an organisation to new opportunities, reduce the likelihood of financial penalties associated with bad decisions about resources, or provide a sound basis for restructuring a distribution or supply network. Census derived agricultural data has the potential to provide some of the most accurate, quantifiable and usable marketing information to anyone doing business in the rural sector or associated industries. Those interested in estimating future activity can extrapolate from 30 years of data.