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Note 1: Agricultural Output, Input and Income

In 2000, the CSO revised its methodology for calculating and presenting data relating to output, input and income in agriculture. The new system for presenting the Economic Accounts for Agriculture is the EAA97 basis which differs in a number of ways from the earlier system. The main difference is a move away from the 'national farm' concept. (This meant that the whole agriculture of a country was regarded as one big farm). With the new methodology the concept of the "national farm" has been replaced by the use of the individual farm as a unit. With this change certain transactions between farms and between different enterprises within the same farm are now valued as both output and intermediate consumption (inputs).

Valuation of Agricultural Output

Under the revised methodology output is valued at the basic price. The basic price corresponds to the producer price plus any subsidies directly linked to a product less any taxes on products. Under the old methodology output was valued at producer prices. The producer price is the price received by the farmer, and is sometimes referred to as the farm-gate or ex-farm price (excluding VAT).

Operating Surplus:

The operating surplus figure is comprised of the operating surplus earned by farmers and that earned by agricultural contractors. The part earned by farmers is an approximation for the income indicator used under the old agriculture accounts methodology. It is calculated before deductions for interest payments on borrowed capital and before deductions for land annuities and for rent paid by farmers to landowners for the use of their land.

Any queries relating to the new methodology tables prior to 1990 should be directed to the Agricultural Section, CSO, Cork.

See tables G.

Note 2: Employment

PES: The PES (Principal Economic Status) classification is based on a single question in which respondents are asked for their own assessment of their principal economic status.

ILO: The ILO (International Labour Office) is the standard international classification which classifies respondents as economically active, in employment or unemployed, or economically inactive (not in the labour force) on the basis of their experience in the week before the survey.

See tables A2, C1, F1, F2, F4, and F6.

Note 3: Farm Numbers

Until the 1991 Census, the CSO recorded all farms over 1 acre. From 1991 onwards, only farms over 1 hectare (2.471 acres) are recorded.

See tables L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5.

Note 4: Land Sales

In interpreting the figures, the Central Statistics Office state that allowance should be made for the fact that only a small amount of agricultural land is sold on the open market each year. Also, there are wide variations in selling prices arising from differences in the quality of the land, its location and other local factors as well as market forces such as changing agricultural policy, inflation and the demand for land.

Completed land sales both by auction and by private treaty are included.

If a farm is sold in separate contracts then each contract is regarded as a single transaction and only included if it is classified as agricultural land on the Particulars Delivered form and within the specified area and value thresholds.

Transactions outside the range €500 per hectare (€202 per acre) to €35,000 per hectare (€14,164 per acre) have been excluded on the basis that the purchaser may intend to use the land for non-agricultural purposes or that a non-market (family, relatives, etc.) element may be involved in the transaction. Transactions in Dublin have been excluded because of uncertainty about whether the land would continue to be used for agricultural purposes. Similarly transactions under 2 hectares have been excluded.

Identifiable forestry transactions have also been excluded on the basis that the land will not be
used for agricultural purposes.

See table L7

Note 5: National Farm Survey

Demographically Viable: Percentage of farm households which have at least one member below 45 years of age.

Direct Costs: Costs directly incurred in the production of a particular enterprise, e.g. fertilisers, seeds and feedingstuffs.

Gross Output: Gross output for the farm is defined as total sales less purchases of livestock, plus value of farm produce used in the house, plus receipts for hire work, service, fees etc. It also includes net change in inventory, which in the case of cows, cattle and sheep is calculated as the change in numbers valued at closing inventory prices.

Gross Margin: Gross output minus direct costs

Family Farm Income: Gross output less total net expenses. It represents the total return to the family labour, management and capital investment in the farm business.

Labour Unit: One labour unit is defines as at least 1800 hours worked on the farm by a person over 18 years of age. Persons under 18 years of age are given the following labour unit equivalents. 16-18 years: 0.75; 14-16 years: 0.50. [An individual cannot exceed one labour unit even if he/she works more than 1,800 hours on the farm.]

Utilisable Agricultural Area (UAA): Area under crops and pasture plus the area (unadjusted) of rough grazing. It is the total area owned, plus area rented, minus area let, minus area under remainder of farm.

See tables M.