Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Regular Articles

Vol. 23 No. 3 (2021): Current use and new perspectives for the Farm Accountancy Data Network

Enhancing the Italian FADN for sustainability assessment: The state of art and perspectives

aprile 27, 2021


Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) is one of the most important microeconomic surveys in Europe. It collects information suitable for use in performing structural and socioeconomic analysis of the agricultural sector in all the Member States. Contents and purposes have evolved over the time depending on the informative needs of the EU Commission and CAP’s priorities. As a part of the Green Deal, CAP is expected to contribute to the environment, climate change and biodiversity objectives beyond 2020. In this new framework, one initiative launched inside the Farm to Fork Strategy has been the change of name from fadn to Farm Sustainability Data Network (FSDN) including variables related to the environmental and social aspects of farming. Like in other EU countries, the information collected by the Italian FADN exceeds that required by the EU regulations, allowing to some extent consideration of special characteristics of national agriculture. However, further variables could be added or changed, gathering them directly from the farmer, by including the existing database or through targeted questionnaires on fadn sub-samples. The new survey will maintain and improve the current role of FADN, reinforcing the analytical and political relevance of the network by adding further dimensions of sustainability. The discussion is on-going at EU and National level and this paper is a contribution to this debate. It gives a description of the environmental and social data gathered by the Italian FADN together with a consideration regarding about the opportunity and the possibility to enhance the system in view of the future period under evaluation. The switch to FSDN will require an effort from the Member States in terms of IT infrastructure, economic resources, new ways of collecting data and staff involved in data collection and the verification process.


  1. Andersen, E., Elbersen, B., Godeschalk, F. & Verhoog, D. (2007). Farm management indicators and farm typologies as a basis for assessments in a changing policy environment. Journal of Environmental management, 82, 353-362, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.04.021.
  2. Bessière, J. (1998). Local development and heritage: traditional food and cuisine as tourist attractions in rural areas. Sociologia Ruralis, 38(1), 21-34, doi: 10.1111/1467-9523.00061.
  3. Bodini, A., Longhitano, D., Povellato, A. & Scardera, A. (2012). Assessing farm sustainability. An application with the Italian FADN sample. 1st Congress Italian Association of Agricultural Applied Economics (AIEAA), 4-5 June 2012, Trento, doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.124381.
  4. Boone, J.A. & Dolman, M.A. (2010). Monitoring sustainability of Dutch agriculture. Paper presented at the Fifth International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-V), Kampala, Uganda, 12-15 October 2010.
  5. Cadilhon, J.J., Bossard, P., Viaux, P., Girardin, P., Mouchet, C. & Vilain, L. (2006). Caractérisation et suivi de la durabilité des exploitations agricoles françaises: les indicateurs de la méthode iderica . Notes et Etudes Economiques, 26, 127-158.
  6. Dabkiene, V. (2016). The scope of farms sustainability tools based on FADN data. Scientific Papers Series Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development, 16(1), 121-128.
  7. Diazabakana, A., Latruffe, L., Bockstaller, C., Desjeux, Y., Finn, J., Kelly, E., Ryan, M. & Uthes, S. (2014). A review of farm level indicators of sustainability with a focus on CAP and FADN, Del.1.2, FLINT project.
  8. Dillon, E.J., Hennessy, T. & Hynes, S. (2010). Assessing the sustainability of Irish agriculture. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 8(3), 131-147, doi: 10.3763/ijas.2009.0044.
  9. Eizenberg, E. & Jabareen, J (2017). Social sustainability: a new conceptual framework. Sustainability, 9(1), 68, doi: 10.3390/su9010068.
  10. European Commission (2015). Strategy for agricultural statistics for 2020 and beyond. Text as supported by the ESSC in its meeting on 19 November 2015 to be implemented by the DGAS and related Working Groups. EU Commission, Eurostat.
  11. European Commission (2020). Data management for the assessment of RDP effects, Report. Report of the Good Practice Workshop 13-14 May 2020. Online.
  12. Figge, F. & Hahn, T. (2004). Sustainable Value Added – measuring corporate contributions to sustainability beyond eco-efficiency. Ecological Economics, 48, 173-187, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2003.08.005.
  13. Gaviglio, A., Bertocchi, M., Marescotti, M.E., Demartini, E. & Pirani, A. (2016). The social pillar of sustainability: a quantitative approach at farm level. Agricultural Food Economics, 4(15), doi: 10.1186/s40100-016-0059-4.
  14. Gómez-Limón, J.A. & Sanchez-Fernandez, G. (2010). Empirical evaluation of agricultural sustainability using composite indicators. Ecological Economics, 69(5), 1062-1075, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.11.027.
  15. Howley, P. (2015). The happy farmer: the effect of non-pecuniary benefits on behaviour. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 97(4), 1072-1086, doi: 10.1093/ajae/aav020.
  16. Janker, J. & Mann, S. (2018). Understanding the social dimension of sustainability in agriculture: a critical review of sustainability assessment tools. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 22, 1671-1691, doi: 10.1007/s10668-018-0282-0.
  17. Janker, J., Mann, S. & Rist, S. (2019). Social sustainability in agriculture. A system-based framework. Journal of Rural Studies, 65, 32-42, doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2018.12.010.
  18. Kelly, E., Latruffe, L., Desjeux, Y., Ryan, M., Uthes, S., Diazabakana, A., Dillon, E. & Finn, J. (2018). Sustainability indicators for improved assessment of the effects of agricultural policy across the EU: is fadn the answer? Ecological Indicators, 89, 903-911, doi: 10.016/j.ecolind.2017.12.053.
  19. Longhitano, D., Bodini, A., Povellato, A. & Scardera A. (2013). Valutare la sostenibilità delle aziende agricole con la Banca dati RICA. Agriregioneuropa, 9(32).
  20. Matuszczak, A., Janiak, R., Muszalka, B., Nowicki, J. & PAwlaczyk, K. (2018). Social sustainability in agricultural farms in FADN European Regions. Roczniki Ekonomiczne Kujawsko-Pomorskiej Szkoły Wyższej w Bydgoszczy, 11, 375-382.
  21. McKenzie, S. (2004). Social Sustainability: towards some definitions. Hawke Research Institute Working Paper Series.
  22. McManus, P., Walmsley, J., Argent, N., Baum, S., Bourke, L., Martin, J., Pritchard, B. & Sorensen T. (2012). Rural Community and Rural Resilience: what is important to farmers in keeping their country towns alive? Journal of Rural Studies, 28(1). 20-29, doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2011.09.003.
  23. Reig-Martínez, E. Gómez-Limón, J.A. & Picazo-Tadeo, A.J. (2011). Ranking farms with a composite indicator of sustainability. Agricultural Economics, 42(5), 561-575, doi: 10.1111/j.1574-0862.2011.00536.x.
  24. Seyfang, G. (2006). Ecological citizenship and sustainable consumption: examining local organic food networks. Journal of Rural Studies, 22(4), 383-395, doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2006.01.003.
  25. Sulewski, P. & Kłoczko-Gajewska, A. (2018). Development of the Sustainability Index of Farms Based on Surveys and FADN Sample. Problems of Agricultural Economics, 3(356), 32-56, doi: 10.30858/zer/94474.
  26. Tantari, A., Severini, S., Scardera, A. & Henke, R. (2017). L’uso della Banca Dati RICA per le analisi dei redditi extra-agricoli delle famiglie agricole italiane. Agriregionieuropa, 13(51).
  27. Trisorio, A. (2004). Measuring sustainability, Indicators of Italian agriculture. Rome: INEA.
  28. Uthes, S., Heyer, I., Kaiser, A., Zander, P., Bockstaller, C., Desjeux, Y., Keszthelyi, S., Kis-Csatári, E., Molnar, A., Wrzaszcz, V. & Juchniewicz, M. (2019). Costs, quantity, and toxicity: Comparison of pesticide indicators collected from FADN farms in four EU-countries. Ecological Indicators, 104, 695-703, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.05.028.
  29. Van Passel, S., Nevens, F., Mathijs, E. & Van Huylenbroeck, G. (2007). Measuring farm sustainability and explaining differences in sustainable efficiency. Ecological Economics, 62(1), 149-161, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.06.008.
  30. Vrolijk, H., Poppe, K. & Szilàrd Keszthelyi (2016). Collecting sustainability data in different organisational settings of the European Farm Accountancy Data Network. Studies in Agricultural Economics, 115, 138-144, doi: 10.7896/j.1626.
  31. Westbury, D.B., Park, J.R., Mauchline, A.L., Crane, R.T. & Mortimer, S.R. (2011). Assessing the environmental performance of UK arable and livestock holdings using data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Journal of Environmental Management, 92(3), 902-909, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.10.051.
  32. Zahm, F., Vaux, P., Vilain, L., Girardin, P. & Mouchet, C. (2008). Assessing farm sustainability with the idea method – from the concept of agriculture sustainability to case studies on farms. Sustainable Development, 16(4), 271-281, doi: 10.1002/sd.380.


Metrics Loading ...