The Administrative Data | Agricultural Research Collection project powers on

A four-nation data linkage project established

The first phase of the project, from 2020 to 2023, established partnerships between academia and government to link de-identified data and create the first UK-wide data collection focused on agricultural households. The project was developed with teams collaborating in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Each nation is building separate, complementary data resources that will enable discrete and UK-wide analysis.

Different approaches to administrative data research in each of the UK nations created challenges. We were able to resolve these by taking each research-ready dataset forward as a mini-project. We also organised regular bi-lateral meetings with respective partners and engaged with local stakeholders. This allowed us to vary the pace and address local requirements while staying faithful to the ambition of allowing federated analysis whenever possible.

An important recent milestone from phase one of the project was the publication of our first Data Insight. This presents data on the structure of farming households in Wales and contrasts this with other non-farming rural households. Differences that emerged illustrated the value of the data in supporting policy interventions that target the particular circumstances found in farm households. 

Expanding and enhancing agricultural data

ADR UK awarded renewed funding to AD|ARC for work to continue in 2023-2025 and recognising the usefulness of the data, Welsh Government has matched this with funding. This second phase will involve us expanding the datasets to cover all four themes of the project:

  • health and wellbeing
  • environment and place
  • prosperity and resilience
  • household socio-demographics.

We will also enhance the data in scope and broaden the base of potential users.

We envision these datasets being used to study changing farm demographics, farm household economic activities, health and education, and the links between household circumstances and land use patterns, among other questions. To research these themes, we’ll be investigating the potential to add further economic, animal health and spatial data. We will also be updating all the existing AD|ARC datasets in the trusted research environments in each nation. This will build capacity for longitudinal studies and give us a more up-to-date picture of farming households.

Supporting the use of research-ready datasets

As well as creating datasets which are as comprehensive and useful as possible, the project team is inviting other accredited researchers to come and make use of the data. To support this, we have created a user guide and comprehensive metadata about the variables available in the Welsh data. We hope this documentation will enable external researchers to assess and understand the value of the datasets. This should help drive up usage of the datasets and expand the overall impact of the project.

We will be producing documentation for the datasets in the other nations once they are available. We are also taking enquiries on potential research collaboration and encourage anyone interested to get in touch.

Consultation with stakeholders

We continue to consult with stakeholders from agriculture and through our Scientific Advisory Board on all elements of the project. Regular stakeholder meetings and attendance at agricultural shows and conferences enable us to talk directly with the people this project seeks to benefit. Do get in touch if you would like to get involved with AD|ARC.

Read more about the AD|ARC project on their new website.

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