Skip to main content
Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


Agriculture: farm diversity and change

Commercial activities contribute significantly to the total income of many farm households
© Thünen-Institut/iKitty Stecher
Commercial activities contribute significantly to the total income of many farm households

Analysis of Farm Structures in Germany

Farm structures are constantly changing – they must, if they respond to competition. However, how well do we know the current farm structures? Available statistics only provide limited information. Therefore, in this project we intend to initially identify the exact knowledge gaps and later develop approaches to close them.

Background and Objective

Splitting of farms, cooperation, and diversification are only a few buzz of the phrases considered for adaptation strategies of farms. Complex and partly household farms organized like concerns are increasingly characterized our current farm structures. The available statistics (especially the agricultural census, agricultural structural survey or the national Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN)) represent these structures less and less. If development information is missing, far-reaching consequences for policy advice and analysis, as well as target-oriented policy development problems arise.

Against this background, our aim is to analyse and evaluate the significance of official agricultural statistics and the FADN. We would like to find approaches which enable us to analyse the entire farm or farming household.


The project will initially evaluate generally available and official statistics with regard to farm structures. In addition, we will review whether there are other relevant data sources that help in presenting the actual prevailing farm structures. For example, data of the agricultural social security includes information in regards to which other businesses belongs to the respective farms.

The analysis sets out to first clearly define and differentiate the area of agriculture. On the basis of regional case studies (district level) we intend to collect data on the micro-structures of agriculture. Further information will be gained by the exchange and collaboration with numerous experts (agricultural administration, statistics, tax and farm consultancies as well as financial institutions). We will compare the newly obtained information with the existing statistical data in order to determine differences. From this we may derive how to improve the national agricultural statistics.

Data and Methods

Analysis of available statistics, and the implementation of expert interviews and workshops. The use of farm related data and sources with information about structural links between farms (for example, data from social security or the company database DAFNE). Implementation of national data surveys in selected regions, and the comparison of obtained information with available official statistics.

Preliminary Results

In regions of highly intensive livestock production and scarce land, and regions with widely diversified income farm structures, the official statistics can hardly be valid or appropriate representatives. Only thanks to information from experts we can make approximate statements about the concentration of production and income. The regional case studies research approach provides reliable results for the discrepancies between statistics and reality. It shows that such analyses is necessary to newly re-adjusted agricultural structure surveys and the national Farm Accountancy Data Network. Only in this way the income situation in agriculture can be determined more accurately.


1.2016 - 12.2022

More Information

Project status: ongoing

Scroll to top