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Farm Business Survey

The Farm Business Survey (FBS) is widely recognised as the most authoritative and impartial survey of the financial position and performance of the businesses of farmers and growers in England. It is an entirely confidential survey carried out by regional Universities and Colleges, Askham Bryan being one of them. The FBS is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and supported by the farming unions, the Country Land and Business Association and the Tenant Farmers’ Association.

The Farm Business Survey (FBS) was set up in 1936 with the objective of collecting information on the economic condition of farming. The primary objectives of the survey are; “to make available, year by year, such information as would provide a statistical basis for study of the economic problems of the industry…To provide a useful indication of the level of farm incomes each year and, over a series of years, to indicate the general trend, thereby enabling more reliable judgements on these matters to be formed”.

Askham Bryan College is responsible for the FBS in Yorkshire, Lancashire and part of Cheshire, with the Research Officers visiting around 300 farms each year. Farmers are randomly selected to take part in the survey, and participate on a voluntary basis with a range of direct individual benefits e.g. free management accounts and gross margins for main enterprises. The information collected from farmers on their business includes; revenues and costs, assets and liabilities, how land is used, areas and sales of crops, sales and purchases of livestock and the amount of labour used. It also collects more simplified information on farm related businesses and on other sources of income.  The survey is strictly confidential.

Information collected is published and available for use by farmers, academic researchers and those with an interest in rural economics. The information also contributes to the European Commission Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN).  National results are available on the FBS website, under region reports, this data is shown by Government Office Region and farm type.


Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277