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Evaluating Recent Changes to the Publication of UK Agricultural Census Data
Vol. 81, No. 3 (July 1996), pp. 225-234
Published by: Geographical Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40572795
Page Count: 10
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The UK's agricultural census remains one of the most convenient and widely used sources of data for agricultural studies in geography. Concerns over the ability of the census to preserve the confidentiality of farmers submitting information has led the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) to change the format in which it is presented.'Parish groups' rather than the individual parishes comprising a county now represent the smallest scale at which data are available in England. Using a simple technique to classify agriculture in the county of Hereford and Worcester, the implications of this change for the investigation of agricultural land use patterns are examined. It appears that parish groups can provide the investigator with an overview of a county's agriculture and raise some specific research questions. However, a significant loss of information is also revealed when compared with the same classification conducted at the parish scale. A major problem is that information likely to be of greatest interest in an intra-county study of agricultural patterns is precisely that which is lost at the parish group level. For detailed agricultural studies based on census information, parish groups are rather too broad and arbitrary amalgamations of data.
Geography © 1996 Geographical Association