Developments in agricultural policy reinforce the need for farm-level analysis. In the pursuit of more efficient and accountable policies, many countries have moved away from market intervention and general payments to farmers to implementing more efficient measures that more directly target specific objectives such as support to low incomes, the provision of eco-services or the adoption of technologies and practices that improve productivity, sustainability and resilience.
It is increasingly important to better understand the impact of various policies on the performance of different categories of farm operations, including the external and internal factors behind. To do this, we need information and analysis from the farm-level (complementing aggregate analysis) to evaluate and improve policies.
Access to individual data for policy analysis can be complicated. As farms share the characteristics of both households and firms, access to individual data requires specific procedures, which often differ by country and type of data, to ensure the respect of confidentiality. While access is often granted for research purpose, this can become complicated for an international organisation like the OECD, which aims for cross-country comparison. Moreover, definitions often vary by country, including that of the farm population, and country expertise is valuable to understand farm-level data and definition, and interpret analytic results.
In response, the OECD established a Farm-Level Analysis Network in 2008, which continues to bring together experts twice a year from agricultural economics research institutes and government bodies that collect or analyse micro-level farm data. While membership in the Network is voluntary, the OECD strives to ensure that a representative coverage of OECD countries is maintained.
The main goal of the Network is to improve the quality and relevance of policy analysis applied to the agricultural sector through the use of micro-level data. For the OECD, the Network makes an important contribution to OECD policy analysis, as it provides a consistent source of micro-level data across a number of countries. The Network also allows members to share experiences on how they are using micro-level analysis in policy analysis, to draw attention on emerging policy issues, and to raise awareness of the need for improved farm-level data that reflect changes in policy priorities.
To date, the Farm-Level Analysis Network has contributed to a number of OECD projects and analytical papers on topics ranging from farm support, income and size distribution to factors driving farm productivity and sustainability to risk management. They can be access below.
Contact us today if you would like more information on the Network, or access all meeting agendas and presentations from prior network meetings below.