The 2016 Farm Structure Survey has the following objectives:
a) To evaluate the situation of Spanish agriculture and monitor the structural evolution of agricultural holdings, as well as to obtain comparable results from all the European Union Member States.
b) To comply with legal regulations set out by the European Union in the different Council regulations, as well as to meet national statistical requirements and other international requests for statistical information on the agrarian sector.
The target population of study is the set of agricultural holdings that have at least one Ha. of Utilised Agricultural Area, and those agricultural holdings whose Utilised Agricultural Area is less than one hectare to the extent to which they produce a given amount for sale, or their production unit exceeds certain physical thresholds.
This excludes only the smallest holdings, which as a whole, represent 2% or less of the total Utilised Agricultural Area, excluding common land and 2% or less of the total number of livestock units.
The basic unit of the survey is the agricultural holding.
The population scope is defined by the following criteria:
- Agricultural holdings with at least 1 ha of utilised agricultural area (UAA).
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.2 ha of UAA used for Fresh vegetables, melons and strawberries and flowes outdoors; irrigated fruit and berry plantations; irrigated citrus plantations; nurseries and Christmas trees; permanent crops under glass.
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.1 ha of UAA used for under flass fresh vegetables, melons and strawberries.
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.1 ha of UAA used for under glass flowers and ornamental plants.
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.5 ha of UAA used for tobacco.
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.5 ha of UAA used for hops.
- Agricultural holdings with at least 0.5 ha of UAA used for cotton.
- Agricultural holdings with one or more livestock units (LU) and a total standard output (TSO) equal to or above 900 Euros.
These criteria are independent: at least one must be met for a holding to be eligible for the Survey.
Netly forestry holdings are excluded from the survey, if they do not meet the aforementioned conditions, given that the survey refers to strictly agricultural holdings. However, when the holding researched has a certain amount of forest area, it will be included in the questionnaire.
The research includes the whole national territory: Mainland, Illes Balears, Islas Canarias, Ceuta and Melilla.
Spain participated in the community programme of farm structure survey for the first time, with the sample survey for the year 1987. In accordance with the subsequent Regulations, relating to the organisation of community surveys during the 1988/1997 period, Spain has carried out sample surveys in the years 1993, 1995 and 1997.
During the 1998/2007 period, sample surveys have been conducted for the agricultural campaigns of the years 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Pursuant to the latest European Parliament and and Council Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008, of 19 November 2008, regarding surveys on the structure of agricultural holdings, the 2009 Agrarian Census was carried out, and the Farm Structure Survey shall be carried out for 2013 and 2016.
Results are available for all of the surveys as of reference year 1987.
Hectares in the case of crops variables.
Heads of cattle in the case of livestock variables.
According to the type of data, the reference periods are defined in the following way:
For those characteristics related to the land and labour, the reference period is agricultural year 2016, that is, the agricultural campaign between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
For the head of livestock, the reference date shall be 30 September 2016.
For rural development measures, the reference period is two years, which end on 31 December 2016 (from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016).
Data referred to the period: AÃ±o 2016
The compilation and dissemination of the data are governed by the Statistical Law No. 12/1989 "Public Statistical Function" of May 9, 1989, and Law No. 4/1990 of June 29 on “National Budget of State for the year 1990" amended by Law No. 13/1996 "Fiscal, administrative and social measures" of December 30, 1996, makes compulsory all statistics included in the National Statistics Plan. The National Statistical Plan 2009-2012 was approved by the Royal Decree 1663/2008. It contains the statistics that must be developed in the four year period by the State General Administration's services or any other entity dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistics Plan are statistics for state purposes and are obligatory. The National Statistics Plan 2017-2020, approved by Royal Decree 410/2016, of 31 October, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2017-2020. (Statistics of the State Administration).
European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008, of 19 November 2008, regarding the structure of agricultural holdings and the survey on agricultural production methods, whereby Council Regulation (EEC) no. 571/88 is repealed.
Commission Regulation (EU) Nº 715/2014 of 26 June 2014 amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) Nº 1166/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on farm structure surveys and the survey on agricultural production methods, as regards the list of characteristics to be collected in the farm structure survey 2016.
Data has been obtained in collaboration with the Basque Statistics Institute (EUSTAT) within the territorial scope of this Autonomous Community, in accordance with the agreement signed between the INE and EUSTAT.
The Farm Structure Survey is a statistical operation included in the National Statistical Plan, subject to the Law on Public Statistical Services dated 9 May 1989, and therefore, its data is protected by Statistical Secrecy at all stages of its compilation.
The survey is disseminated every 2 or 3 years, according to how the corresponding regulations establish its mandatory conduction. The latest Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008, sets out conducting two surveys in 2013 and 2016, and therefore, the frequency is 3 yearly.
The survey is disseminated via a table system published on the INE website.
The tables appear in two sections: the first classifies the holdings according to the utilised agricultural area, and the second classifies them according to the type of farming.
This classification is performed on a national level and by Autonomous Community.
INEbase is the system the INE uses to store statistical information on the Internet. It contains all the information the INE produces in electronic formats. The primary organisation of the information follows the theme-based classification of the Inventory of Statistical Operations of the State General Administration . The basic unit of INEbase is the statistical operation, defined as the set of activities that lead to obtaining statistical results on a determined sector or subject based on the individually collected data. Also included in the scope of this definition are synthesis preparation.
The tables and all of the information relating to 2016 FSS may be viewed at the following link:
One may access and download the microdata files for these statistics, by Autonomous Community. These files are anonymised in order to preserve statistical secrecy.
The information may be viewed at:
There is the possibility of requesting customised information from the INE Customer Service Area: (https://www.ine.es/infoine/?L=1). When processing these requests, limitations regarding confidentiality or accuracy are taken into account.
For a detailed description of the methods and concepts used, as well as of the questionnaires used for the collectin of the Farm Structure Survey, please see the website:
In accordance with article 12 of Parliament Regulation (EC) no. 1166/2008, and coinciding with the data transfer, Eurostat is provided a methodological report regarding the Survey (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/agriculture/national-methodology-reports), describing the following:
a) the organisation and the methodology applied.
b) the levels of precision achieved in the sampling surveys.
c) information regarding the quality of any administrative source of data that has been used.
d) the inclusion and exclusion criteria applied in order to meet the coverage requirements established in article 3.
The reports are uploaded onto the website once they have been validated by Eurostat.
Sections 10.6 to 17 of this document are the quality report aimed at the user of this operation.
In all of the collection phases, controls were established, in order to guarantee the quality of the data collected. The controls have been included in the IRIA (integration of the information collection and its administration) management application used during all of the phases of the survey.
Following the collection, a centralised filtering and automatic imputation were carried out, so as to correct possible residual errors.
Although the response rate has been high, the quality of the data has been controlled, via the continuous evaluation thereof throughout the filtering process.
During the centralised filtering, the INE researched whether or not the holding was included in another source of information: 2009 Agricultural Census, 2013 FSS, IACS Livestock Register, etc. which enables the person performing the filtering to contrast information on a micro level. As it was filtered, aggregated results were obtained in order to perform comparisons on a macro level with other sources of information: 2009 AgriculturalCensus, 2013 FSS or the MAGRAMA Yearbook.
Prior to the final passing of the data, the results were contrasted once again.
On the other hand, steps have been taken to decrease the burden and the cost of the operation, through the use of administrative sources, such as the Municipal Register, which has been used to collect the sex and age of the holders.
In order to improve the quality of the data collection, it would have been necessary to use personal interviews with specialised agents for the collection and verification of some characteristics.
Survey users include:
The main user is the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Union, which through Eurostat, requires comparable statistics in all of the Member States regarding the structure of agricultural holdings, in order to determine the development and monitoring of Agricultural Policy in the Community (CAP). The Ministry of Agriculture also requires having this data for the monitoring of this policy on a national level.
The INE has carried out general user satisfaction surveys in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 and it plans to continue doing so every three years. The purpose of these surveys is to find out what users think about the quality of the information of the INE statistics and the extent to which their needs of information are covered. In addition, additional surveys are carried out in order to acknowledge better other fields such as dissemination of the information, quality of some publications...
On the INE website, in its section Methods and Projects / Quality and Code of Practice / INE quality management / User surveys are available surveys conducted to date.(Click next link)
In the user satisfaction survey conducted in 2016, which may be viewed in the quality section of the INE website, this assesses the "Agriculture" sector in which this statistical operation is based, which may be guided with regard to user opinions thereof.
The FSS meets all of the requirements established in the national and international regulations relating to the Farm Structure Survey. Only three of the 259 characteristics that must be provided to Eurostat are considered insignificant (they are practically non-existent) due to the diversity of our agriculture, and therefore, they are not researched. This leads to the Rate of available compulsory statistical results indicator being 98.84%, and to Spain being the EU country with the highest number of characteristics researched.
The Survey has been conducted, pursuant to European Parliament Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and European Commission Regulations No. 715/2014, No. 1391/2015 and No. 1242/2008.
The sampling errors of the main agricultural and livestock characteristics are calculated, and compliance is analysed with the precision requirements set out in Regulation 1166/2008.
In order to analyses non-sampling errors, non-response is analysed, by cause, in each one of the strata formed by the crossing of Autonomous Community, Farm Type and size. Imputation and re-weighting procedures are applied for its treatment. External sources are not used. The high response percentage, reaching over 90%, and the procedures applied to treat non-response, lead to reducing the possible biases caused by non-response.
This uses a stratified, random sampling design. Firstly, the comprehensive holdings are determined, and the rest of the holdings are distributed among the strata. These are formed by the crossing of Autonomous Community, Farm Type to two digits and size group. Secondly, this calculates the sample size, applying the optimum allocation criterion, which meets the precision requirements set out in Annex IV of Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008. Subsequently, a sample is selected at random in each stratum.
The relative sampling errors or variation coefficients of the main survey variables shall be published in the survey methodology. The annex presents the variation coefficients of the main aggregated variables.
Non-response is mainly due to those holdings that have been contacted, but which, in the end, do not provide the questionnaire. In that case, they will be reweighted. The remaining cases, such as refusals or invalid questionnaires, are imputed with the data from the EEA2013 Farm Structure Survey and 2009 Agricultural Census. The non-response rate (holding with non-response / eligible holdings) is 10,6%. The results obtained are as follows:
Number of holdings in the framework: 986.986
Number of holdings in the initial sample: 66.051
Number of ineligible holdings (outside of the research scope, which have ceased their agricultural activity, etc.): 3.325
Number of eligible holdings: 62.726
Number of holdings with non-response (unlocatable holdings, holdings refusing to participate or holdings that participated, but whose information could not be used due to poor quality): 6.675
Number of holdings that will be re-weighted: 2.898
Number of holdings imputed: 3.239
Number of holdings with completed questionnaires collected: 56.051
The survey estimates are not calibrated to any external source.
In accordance with the Community Regulation, and as the information from the Survey refers to the 2016 agricultural campaign, which in the case of Spain ends 30 September, the term lasts 15 months.
The dissemination of the data is carried out in accordance with the structural statistics availability calendar that the INE compiles and publishes for each year.
The results of these statistics are comparable for any Autonomous Community, as the treatment carried out is the same. Likewise, the use of the Community methodology enables comparing the results with the rest of the Member States of the European Union.
The methodology basically has not varied since the first survey in 1987, when we joined the Community Programme. The only changes, induced by changes in the Community methodology, refer to the definition of the Annual Working Unit (AWU), the definition of the Farm Type (FT) and the definition of the Animal Units (AU).
As of the 1993 Survey, the definition of AWU changed from 275 to 228 complete working days.
The Farm Type were modified as of the 1999 Agricultural Census, substituting the main 11 and 12 FTs for the 13 and 14 FTs. Subsequently, with the latest reform of the CAP, new Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1242/2008, of 8 December 2008, was passed, affecting the 2009 Agricultural Census and 2013 and 2016 Surveys.
The coefficients used in the calculation of the AU were also changed, as of the 1999 Agricultural Census. The latest modification of those coefficients was made as of the 2009 Census, with the introduction of a coefficient for ostriches, which had not been a research subject.
Both the Farm Type and the Animal Units are derived variables obtained from the questionnaire data. Using the microdata published, it would be possible to maintain the previous classifications.
For all of the variables, except the AWU, indicator CC1: Number of comparable elements in a time series since its latest break is 11, whereas for the AWU, this indicator is 10.
The results of the 2016 Farm Structure Survey are coherent with those obtained by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Environment and Food in some of their agricultural statistics, such as the Spanish Survey of Surfaces and Crop Yields (ESYRCE), Surfaces and annual crop productions, Vineyard surveys or Surveys on the planting of fruit trees.
Nevertheless, these need not offer the same results, as the target population of study, the sampling design, and the definitions of the variables, are different.
The 2016 Farm Structure Survey is absolutely coherent with the 2013 Farm Structure Survey and the 2009 Agricultural Census, since this is the same operation, researched by sample or comprehensively, respectively.
The coherence among the variables is contrasted in all of the compilation phases of the Survey. The results have internal coherence, as they are obtained from the same microdata file, and are calculated using the same filtering and estimation methods.
The estimation of the budgetary credit necessary to finance these statistics, as set out in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Annual Programmes comes to a total of 5.870,27 thousand euros.
For the purpose of not overburdening the completion time for respondents, we have eliminated questions regarding the legal nature of the holder from the questionnaire, which is obtained from their NIF, and regarding the age of the holder, which is taken from the Municipal Register through the crossing with the NIF.
With regard to other previous surveys, the questionnaire has been reduced by five pages, in order to facilitate completion and decrease completion time.
Another cost-reducing measure has been the use of an information collection method in three phases: by post, CATI and CAPI with CAWI inclusion.
The INE of Spain has a policy which regulates the basic aspects of statistical data revision, seeking to ensure process transparency and product quality. This policy is laid out in the document approved by the INE board of directors on 13 March of 2015, which is available on the INE website, in the section "Methods and projects/Quality and Code of Practice/INE’s Quality management/INE’s Revision policy" (link).
This general policy sets the criteria that the different type of revisions should follow: routine revision- it is the case of statistics whose production process includes regular revisions-; more extensive revision- when methodological or basic reference source changes take place-; and exceptional revision- for instance, when an error appears in a published statistic-.
Only the final data of the Survey is published, and it is not subject to revision.
If errors are detected and the data needs to be modified, an explanatory note would be added to the information in order to inform users that the data has been changed.
The data is published when it is final and it is not subject to revision.
The survey data is obtained from the information provided by the holders of the agricultural holdings in the successive collection phases (post, CAWI, CATI and CAPI).
The 2016 Farm Structure Survey (FSS) has a stratified random sampling design. Each stratum is formed by crossing Autonomous Community, Farm Type to two digits (FT2) and size group. The sample size is calculated by applying the optimum allocation criterion, meeting the precision requirements established in Annex IV of Regulation (EC) No. 1166/2008. This uses simple expansion estimators.
The sample of 2016 FSS constitutes a panel sample studied in 2013. To update the panel, the offspring holding method is applied, which permits refreshing the panel through the incorporation, into the sample, of holdings arising after the last census or survey conducted.
The size of the framework for 2013 FSS is 989,796 holdings.
The FSS is collected every 2 or 3 years, as established in the Regulation. The Regulation currently in force, (EC) No. 1166/2008, sets out that one survey must be conducted in 2013, and another in 2016.
The INE signed a partnership agreement with the Autonomous Community of Pais Vasco, by which, its Statistics Institute (EUSTAT) performs the fieldwork and the recording of all the questionnaires in its territory.
In the information collection performed by the INE, a multi-channel methodology was used, with different collection systems: by post, online completion (CAWI), computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) and computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). It was carried out by an external company hired through public tender.
It was carried out in two differentiated phases, over the course of six months.
Phase 1: Postal phase, Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and CAWI
This consisted of mailing the questionnaires, by ordinary post, to the holders of the agricultural holdings in the sample that could complete the print questionnaire and return it by post. Simultaneously, the CAWI channel was enabled, permitting completion of the questionnaire online, without the direct involvement of an interviewer, in such a way that the interview interacted directly with the system. In both cases, the collection system is the individual completion by the respondent.
As support for the collection, and in order to answer calls from respondents, a free telephone line was provided (L900).
The questionnaires received during this phase were initially recorded, revised and filtered, telephoning those respondents from whom some sort of clarification or correction was required for the data provided.
Therefore, the information collection considers conducting telephone interviews (CATI). The computer application is in charge of guiding the interviewer and storing the answers that s/he introduces.
This procedure was carried out, contacting the holders of the holdings that had not returned the completed questionnaire, and for whom there was a known contact telephone number.
Phase 1 began on the end of November 2016, with the mailing of letters and questionnaires to all of the holders of the agricultural holdings in the sample, together with the user keys and passwords, in order to be able complete it online. The Post was maintained up until the end of the collection.
Phase 3: Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)
This collection channel allows for personal interviewing, following the questionnaire script programmed into a portable device.
This procedure was reserved for those holders of agricultural holdings for whom information had not been obtained in the previous phase.
This phase was carried out during the months from March to May 2017.
Three levels of information validation have been carried out:
Validation during the information collection: controls were included in each one of the phases (CAWI, post, CATI or CAPI) in the the IRIA application. The controls were presented to the interviewers during the interview, or at the end of the interview, according to the type of error. In the case of the postal collection, in which the questionnaire was recorded once it had arrived by post, the controls were detailed at the end of the interview, and resolved via telephone calls. Subsequently, the interviewers inspectors were in charge of accepting or rejecting the questionnaires, depending on the types of error that the questionnaire contained, and on the observations included therein. At the next level, the survey responsible carried out a global inspection of the information collected.
Validation in Central Services: once the questionnaires were marked as clean in the collection phase, the Responsible Department carried out a validation of the information, mainly aimed at identifying the holdings to filter, based on the evolution of the estimated data, with regard to the results available from the previous surveys or from the census. Moreover, monitoring was performed of the collection incidences, as well as specific studies thereof and of the offspring holdings.
Automatic Imputation: An automatic imputation process (PIA) of the information is developed, using a customised programming developed by the Subdirectorate General for Information and Communications Technology of the INE, in accordance with the specifications of the Responsible Department.
Subsequent to the manual error correction, and prior to obtaining the final data files, all of the questionnaires were subjected to an automatic data imputation process (PIA).
The PIA consists of fourteen units, known as blocks, each of which performs a specific function that may be more or less complex. These blocks are applied sequentially, in the order of their numbering, from 1 to 14, to all of the holdings, and in essence, the function of each of them consists of performing three types of operation:
- Questions for detecting inconsistencies
- Questions for acquiring information from the questionnaire itself when inconsistencies have been detected
- Performing imputations if necessary
If no inconsistencies exist, the block does not perform imputations on the holding examined, and it moves onto the next block. If a block applies imputations to a holding, the modified data becomes final, and therefore, the questions asked in the successive blocks always refer to the current state of the data, rather than to the initial state of the data. The logic is comparable within a block. The questions asked after applying one or more imputations always refer to the current state of the data, even if it has been modified within the block process.
The automatic imputation never performs imputations on all of the characteristics of a questionnaire.
It is not pertinent to carry out any seasonal adjustment.
Link to the survey information on the INE website: