FARMERS ARE being encouraged to complete the 2020 Agricultural Census before the extended deadline of Friday July 31.

This year's survey is voluntary to help ease pressures on farmers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Farmers can access and complete the form online or request to be contacted by a member of the census team by telephone. Over the coming weeks, some farmers may also be contacted directly to discuss providing data.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “It is now more important than ever that we have an accurate picture of developments in the agricultural sector so that we can assess the impact of coronavirus and develop the right policies to support our farming communities.

“The Agricultural Census data underpins research work in the agricultural sector and is widely used by industry bodies as evidence of how the industry is performing. This year the census is voluntary but I urge every farmer in Scotland to take the time to complete the survey either online or on the telephone.”

The census collates information about land use, livestock numbers and labour. Farmers with a Rural Payments and Services account should check their emails and follow the guidance provided to access the census online.

Farmers who do not have an RP and S account, or who cannot access their form online, can still provide their census information by phoning the census operations team on 0300 244 9788 or by emailing and providing their location number.