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Agricultural Economics and Farm Surveys

The focus of this research department primarily relates to the first two programmatic objectives:

  • To collect timely, quality information in an efficient manner to support decision making by our stakeholders.
  • To undertake research to interpret trends and changes in markets and policy to enable each of our stakeholders to make better decisions

The core skills and technologies of the department are agricultural production economics, economic modelling and data collection.

National Farm Survey
Underpinning much of the analysis and modelling of the programme, is the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) which has collected detailed financial and farm management data for a nationally representative sample since 1972. It is the Irish component of the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network, which is harmonised across Europe facilitating an international comparison of the performance of agriculture. As the official statistical source on the economic performance of farms, the data collected by the NFS have been used extensively over the years for many purposes.

Economists in Teagasc and other institutions have used the data to chart the performance of farms, measuring productivity, efficiency, farm investment and the adoption of technology. NFS data has also been used for policy analysis and the capability to demonstrate the impact of a policy reform on the full population of farms has been critical in informing debate. Recent methodological improvements have improved the efficiency of delivery and management of the data and have allowed for linkages to administrative, geographic and environmental data.

FAPRI-Ireland Partnership
A significant amount of the research of the department is policy focused within the banner of the FAPRI-Ireland Partnership, which was established in the mid-1990s between Teagasc and the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) to develop economic models to quantify the effect of policy reform on agricultural markets and farm income in Ireland. Teagasc developed the FAPRI-Ireland aggregate and farm-level models.
The FAPRI-Ireland models have been used to examine numerous policy questions including the decoupling of direct payments, WTO trade agreements, expansion of the EU milk quota, national strategy planning such as Food Harvest 2020 and more recently environmental policy. The FAPRI-Ireland models play a central role in the policy formation process by providing timely, evidence based information.