Agricultural Census

What is the Agricultural Census?

The Agricultural Census is conducted every ten years in most countries of the world and in all European Union countries. As a result of the census, ministries, European Union institutions, research institutions and farmers receive the necessary input for decision-making in the field of agriculture and know which issues require more attention and funding. In 2020, the seventh agricultural census takes place in Estonia.

What is asked in the Agricultural Census?

In the Agricultural Census, basic information about managing the holding, land use and the number of animals are asked from all the agricultural holdings on the census list. If possible, the data on land and animals registered in Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) and information from the land cadastre of the Land Board and data from the employment register have been pre-filled in the questionnaire; the data can be checked and adjusted.

  • Holding management data: manager of the holding; information about the manager, incl. time spent as the manager, age, sex, working hours in the holding (e.g. 25–50% of full-time working hours, etc.), agricultural training and participation in vocational training.
  • Land use: land tenure by type, utilised agricultural land by type of ownership and agricultural crops.
  • Number of animals, poultry and bee colonies.

According to the methodology agreed in the European Union, part of the 2020 Agricultural Census data will be collected with a module only from selected holdings. This includes labour force information and information about other gainful activities, and data on livestock farming methods and manure management, which are important for environmental analysis. Holdings are stratified according to their economic size and a random sample is drawn. To ensure a representative sample, the largest and most important holdings are included universally.

  • Labour force of the agricultural holding and other gainful activities: working hours of the holder and his or her family members, permanent, temporary and other employees, other gainful activities related to the holding, other gainful activities of the holding’s labour force outside the holding.
  • Livestock farming methods and manure management: livestock farming methods by type, manure application methods, manure storage.

The data collected with the census will be combined with the crop and animal farming data of the Estonian Agricultural Board’s organic farming register, PRIA data on rural development and other support and data of the Statistical Business Register on enterprise groups.

Who commissions the census?

The Agricultural Census is conducted pursuant to the Official Statistics Act, Regulation (EU) No 1091/2018 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) No 1874/2018 and (EU) No 2020/405. All instructions for completing the questionnaire can be found in the questionnaire.

The Agricultural Census is co-financed by the European Commission.



Why do we need the data?

The census is needed to develop agricultural and environmental policies and other policy areas.

The census provides comprehensive and accurate agricultural data for public authorities, research institutions, businesses and international organisations. Compared to other surveys, the Agricultural Census gives a more detailed overview of agriculture and examines all the main areas of activity of agricultural holdings.

Agricultural censuses have been conducted in the European Union since 1970. The census is mandatory for all Member States. A common methodology, indicators to be collected, their definitions, etc. have been agreed to ensure better comparability.

The census data are also required by Joint Research Center of the European Union for policy development, research, model development, etc.

 How often is the census conducted?

The Agricultural Census is conducted every ten years. The previous census took place in 2010 and the next one takes place in autumn 2020.

How are the survey participants selected?

The 2020 Agricultural Census will cover agricultural holdings (both legal and natural persons) which meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • 5 hectares of utilised agricultural land (incl. arable land, permanent grassland, fruit and berry plantations, nurseries and kitchen gardens);
  • 2 hectares of arable land;
  • 0.5 hectares of potatoes;
  • 0.5 hectares of vegetables and strawberries;
  • 0.2 hectares of aromatic and medicinal plants and herbs, flowers and ornamental plants, area under seeds and nurseries;
  • 0.3 hectares of fruit and berry plantations and other permanent crops;
  • 100 m² of greenhouses;
  • 1.7 livestock units of animals (one livestock unit corresponds to, e.g. 1 non-dairy cow; other animals have lower coefficients, e.g. 0.8 for a bovine animal, 0.3 for a fattening pig, 0,007 for a broiler, etc.).

The Agricultural Census covers at least 98% of the utilised agricultural land in the country (excl. kitchen gardens) and 98% of livestock units. Utilised agricultural land includes permanent grassland where only maintenance mowing is carried out but for which subsidies are received.

Statistics Estonia compiles the 2020 Agricultural Census list on the basis of registers (PRIA, organic farming register, etc.) and other information.

Census data are collected with a survey and some data are obtained directly from registers. Information on agricultural holdings is requested from the holder, manager or representative of the holder or manager.

How are the data collected?

Statistics Estonia conducts the 2020 Agricultural Census in autumn 2020. The questionnaire can be completed online from 1 September to 20 September. We recommend replying online if possible, as in this case, you can choose the most convenient time. The questionnaire is available at The web environment can be accessed with an ID card, mobile ID or Smart ID.

Managers or holders of agricultural holdings who have not submitted their data online by 20 September will be contacted by a telephone interviewer of Statistics Estonia from 21 September to 15 November.

Where will the results be published?

Statistics Estonia will publish the results of the 2020 Agricultural Census in the statistical database at in 2021.

Is participation in the Agricultural Census mandatory?

Pursuant to the Official Statistics Act, the Agricultural Census is mandatory for agricultural holdings. The census covers all holdings and, therefore, each holding’s response is very important.

How to make sure that this is a survey by Statistics Estonia?

Telephone interviews are conducted by specially trained interviewers. The call is always made from Statistics Estonia’s call centre number +372 625 9110. The names of Statistics Estonia’s interviewers are available at statistics-estonia/contacts

Data protection

Strict security requirements are observed when protecting the census data. The collected data are confidential. The data are processed and used only for statistical purposes and published in aggregate form.

Where can I get more information about the Agricultural Census?

In case of questions or problems regarding the submission of data, please contact Statistics Estonia’s customer support, tel. +372 625 9100 or send an e-mail to klienditugi [at] (klienditugi[at]stat[dot]ee).