Scottish Agricultural Census - How-to guide, guidance, and sample forms

How to complete your Scottish Agricultural Census form.

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June 2019 Agricultural Census

The June Agricultural Census is sent to a random sample of holdings, across all types of farms to collect information on areas owned or rented, crops, livestock numbers (not including cattle), and labour. This information helps to make sure we develop the right policies to support agriculture in Scotland.

We send the census form to all holdings who complete a Single Application Form (SAF) and to a sample of other agricultural holdings.

Save time and do it online

If you normally complete your SAF online, the quickest and easiest way to complete your census is to login to your account on the Rural Payments and Services website, click on your business name and select Ag Census from the top menu.

Completing the census is a legal requirement under the Agriculture Act 1947. It is important to take care when completing the sections relevant to your location code. More accurate forms mean less chance of us having to make follow-up phone calls. 

Please complete the census form as if it were 03 June 2019 unless we have asked for it differently. We need your form returned to us completed by 30 June 2019. If you are posting it, please consider how long it will take to get to us by mail.

SAF-customer Guidance notes and Sample form

Non SAF Guidance Note and Sample form

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018.

Under Article 6(1)(c) of the General Data Protection Regulations the Scottish Government advises that in order to comply with a legal obligation, you should provide us with the requested information for the 2019 Agricultural Census form.

How we will store your data

We will hold all of this data on our database for the purposes described below. The database is held on a secure server confidentially and in line with the data protection legislation. Access to the data is limited to staff who require to use it for the purposes described below.

What we will do with your data

We use this data to create statistics, used to estimate the economic value of the sector, and contributes to the overall calculations of GDP and economic output of the Scottish and UK economy. These statistics will also be used by Scottish Government to develop and tailor policies to support the agricultural sector.

Other uses of the data include:

  • providing statistics to the European Union and the United Nations, this is to meet Scottish Government legislative requirements,

  • modelling scenarios for issues where contingency planning is required, such as potential disease outbreaks, or changes in economic conditions and support payments,

  • to provide information to estimate environmental impact, such as for the UK ammonia and greenhouse gas inventories.

The Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1947 Section 78 (as amended) allows us to process and share this data with authorised research institutes, universities and other government agencies, for research purposes. With each request to share this information, we review the arrangements in place of the receiving body to securely hold the data and the purposes of the research. There are strict criteria used to ensure these conditions are met before we make it available to a third party.

If we do share the data, it is done so under data sharing agreements which include strict confidentiality restrictions covering how the data is securely stored, limiting access to only people who require it, ensures that data is deleted after use and that no publications identify individuals or individual businesses.

In all of these cases your data will be combined with others responding to this census before publication of results so that your individual business cannot be identified.

Occasionally we will use your individual record data for identifying  farms or businesses which either hold livestock or grow crops. This is for the purposes of ensuring public, animal and plant health, or as part of legal or planning proceedings in accordance with the Agriculture Act 1947 Section 80. Failure to supply data may result in a fine in accordance with the Agriculture Act 1947 Section 81, though the Scottish Government will work to avoid these.


If you have any complaints about the way your data has been handled during this Survey, these can be made to the Scottish Government Data Protection Team via email at . You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) via email at or by phoning  the Information Commissioner's Office on 0303 123 1115. Do not use this number for queries about the census.

Scottish Agricultural Census - How To Guide

Customer guidance note

Customer sample form

Non-SAF customer sample form 2019

Non-SAF Customer guidance notes 2019

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