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

BW Farm Economics

The German Farm Accountancy Data Network

- an important data source for the assessment of the economic situation of farms and for policy impact analysis

The German Farm Accountancy Data Network German FADN or Testbetriebsnetz Landwirtschaft (TBN) comprises the accounting results of representatively selected agricultural holdings. Currently, about 8,000 farms - including horticultural and permanent crop farms - participate voluntarily in this network. The German FADN has its origin in the Agriculture Act of 1955. At that time, the Federal Government wanted to create a data source for determining the revenues and expenses of agricultural enterprises. Over time, the German FADN has also become increasingly important for policy impact analysis and evaluation, particularly because it is the only representative data source that includes economic indicators such as income in addition to farm structural and production-specific information.

With the help of the German FADN, not all, but a large number of questions about the economic situation of farms and the impacts of changing legal, political and technical conditions can be answered. On the basis of the German FADN, we can show, for example, how many farms are affected by a specific agricultural policy measure, and the effects of severe price fluctuations or extreme weather events on the stability and liquidity of farms. Econometric methods can also be used to reveal the determinants of farm and income developments. The data from the German FADN are also a central component of the so-called FARMIS model, which is used to make projections by taking processes of adjustments at the farm level into account. Using weighting factors for individual farms - which are calculated on the basis of the regular Farm Structure Surveys and Agricultural Censuses - we can also extrapolate our results to the represented population under consideration.

Since 2012, the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics has been the German Liaison Agency for the European Farm Accountancy Data Network (EU  FADN). The European Commission uses the FADN to assess the economic situation of EU farms and to analyse the impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy. As part of its tasks, the Thünen Institute produces and validates annually - and based on the German FADN - the national dataset for this European system of harmonised accountancy data. Furthermore, we also elaborate how data collection can be improved and amended for the FADN, given increasingly complex farm structures and other businesses not related to agriculture. In order to improve the data situation for studies on the sustainability of farms, efforts are currently being made by the European Commission to further develop the FADN into a Farm Sustainability Data Network (FSDN). We are investigating the challenges and opportunities of the additional collection or data linkage of environmental and social information.

The data of the German FADN are available to external researchers under certain conditions and in compliance with strict data protection requirements.

Further information can be found in the dossier "Income in Agriculture".

Scroll to top