Switzerland has a long tradition of conducting censuses in the area of agriculture. From 1955, the agricultural census, conducted every five years, was the main source of information. A turning point came in 1966, with the introduction of farm surveys based on administrative sources. Switzerland has a yearly census for the main agricultural topics like farmland, livestock and labour force. The main data source is the declaration for direct payments for farmers. The 2010 Agricultural Census (AC) was carried out together with a thematic survey (on holdings' OGA, the structure of the labour force and characteristics related to agricultural production methods) and the SAPM.
Switzerland has a long tradition of conducting censuses in the area of agriculture. The first livestock survey was organised as early as 1866, and the first survey of primary sector enterprises followed in 1905. From the First World War onwards, the surveys were conducted more frequently and increased in scope. A survey of crops was introduced in 1917, and was conducted every year between 1939 and 1947.
From 1955, the agricultural census, conducted every five years, was the main source of information. A turning point came in 1966 with the introduction of farm surveys based on administrative sources from the
agricultural policy information system. In 2007, Switzerland participated for the first time in the farm structure survey in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) no. 571/88. The survey was special in that it only concerned the general characteristics of the holding in question, and use of land and livestock - information which mainly came from administrative data. However, labour and other gainful activities were not surveyed. The 2010 survey on farm structure and production methods was the first survey in which Switzerland participated in full. This survey was special, however, in that information on labour and other gainful activities was not collected exhaustively, but through a representative sample. The 2010 agricultural census consists of three parts:
The scope of the study includes land, machinery and equipment and support for rural development.
Agriculture & Rural Development
Land (policy, resource management)
Community Driven Development
The statistical unit was the agricultural holding, defined as "an enterprise that: (i) is dedicated to growing crops or keeping livestock, or both; (ii) consists of one or several production units; (iii) is legally, economically, organizationally and financially independent; (iv) is independent of other holdings; (v) has its own operating income; and (vi) is operated all year round". It should also reach or exceed at least a certain size.
Producers and sponsors
Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)
Federal Statistical Office (FSO)
The Federal Office for Agriculture
The Federal Office for the Environment
The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office.
a. Methodological modality for conducting the census
The AC 2010 consisted of:
i. data collection based on administrative registers, for the agricultural holdings registered in the Agricultural Policy Information System (SIPA); and
ii. traditional field data collection using census questionnaires, for holdings not registered in the SIPA.
A thematic survey (on the holdings' OGA, the structure of the labour force and the characteristics related to agricultural production methods) were conducted along with the AC.
The population of the AC 2010 essentially comprised the holdings receiving subsidies (direct payments), which were approximately 58 000 holdings, and an additional 1 000 holdings that did not receive subsidies or that were not registered in the SIPA (mainly horticultural holdings). The AC 2010 was based on complete enumeration of holdings.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Mail Questionnaire [mail]
Data Collection Notes
The AC 2010 data were collected using administrative registers as a source of census data and the field data collection through: (i) paper questionnaires sent by post (mail-out/mail-back) and (ii) Internet-based questionnaires (CAWI).
Different questionnaires/administrative forms were used for different groups of farms. Questionnaires were sent to the holdings not receiving direct payments. A questionnaire for the thematic survey (on OGA, labour force and agricultural production methods) was used for the holdings in the sample. The AC covered all 16 core items recommended in the WCA 2010.
A- Information about the farm manager, farm holder and the farm
B- Persons working on the farm in 2010
C- On-farm diversification in 2010
D- Services provided by contractors and others for the farm’s production in the past 12 months
E- Facilities for the production of renewable energies in 2010
F- Open field irrigation in the calendar year 2010
G- Land cover, tillage and grazing in winter 2009/2010
H- Mechanisation on the farm 2010
I- Stall systems/installations in 2010
K- Farmyard manure in 2010
a. DATA PROCESSING AND ARCHIVING
The paper census questionnaires were scanned using ICR. In addition, farmers were also offered an electronic application (eSurvey), allowing them to complete the questionnaire online.' All data collected were imported into a database to which the project production team had access, so that they could view the content of each questionnaire and contact the holdings concerned to request additional information if necessary in the event of inconsistency, error or missing information.
b. CENSUS DATA QUALITY
Paper questionnaires were checked visually2 before scanning in order to correct the text and illegible figures. The online questionnaire incorporated checks on, for example, maximum values and other elements of control. For quality control, priority was given to direct contact with the holdings.
Data were published on the website of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office in June, 2012.
Swiss Federal Statistical Office,
Section Economic Structure Analyses
Address: Espace de ('Europe 10, CH-2010 Neuchatel
Telephone: (+41) 58 4636200 / (+41) 58 4636266
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses