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Farmbench Data Protection

Background to AHDB

What is AHDB?

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is the levy board for the dairy, beef & lamb, pork, potato, horticulture and cereals & oilseed sectors. It has a pivotal role to make the industry sectors it supports more competitive and sustainable. AHDB is funded by the agriculture and horticulture industries through statutory levies.


1. Objective of the Farmbench service

Farmbench is a web-based benchmarking system. The AHDB Data Protection Policy ensures that no information about any individual or business can be identified outside of the Farmbench system, without the express consent of the farmer.


2: People involved

Every farmer participating in Farmbench provides information in confidence directly to the website or via an AHDB data collector. A report is then generated based on the information given, which compares or benchmarks financial and physical information against other similar enterprises, helping farmers to see where potential savings could be made and how margins may be increased for that enterprise.

AHDB may also use the farmer’s data collected for the Farmbench system for industry analysis. If this data is used, it will be anonymised and no direct or indirect identifier will be published. A direct identifier is a name, address, telephone number, VAT number or any piece of information which may, on its own, directly identify a farmer or farm business. An, indirect  identifier is an attribute which can assist in identifying a farmer or farm business only with the help of additional information which are not direct identifiers; examples are age, occupation, size of farm, approximate location, etc.


3. Data involved

The Data Protection Policy focuses on three classes of data and sets out who will have access to each type of data:

Farm accounts and related information containing direct identifiers

The farmer, data collector or consultant nominated by the farmer will have access to this class of data, together with the AHDB Administrator and Validator of the benchmarking system and the IT Manager contracted to AHDB, all of whom must sign a confidentiality undertaking.

Anonymised Benchmark data relating to individuals or businesses

By submitting your data, you are consenting that your individual data, in anonymised form, i.e. without personal details, is aggregated with other participating farmers for benchmarking reports. Data for benchmarking reports will never contain the collective data from less than six farms and, therefore, an individual farm’s data remains confidential.

Where farmers have formed an arable business group, each farmer will have access to the anonymised data of others taking part in the group, as will the AHDB Regional Managers and/or Consultants for use within the participating arable business group. This means that the data may contain collective data from less than six farms.   This position can be reviewed at any time by the farmer, i.e. you can always change whether you are willing to allow other farmers to identify your set of data.

Grouped data and the conditions under which they may be published AHDB may publish or generally make available Grouped data only in an anonymised form that does not allow identification of any individual or business, by direct or indirect means, even by someone with specialist knowledge.

In particular, a group will never contain data from fewer than six farms. Normally, groups will contain more than six farms for reasons of reliability and robustness. AHDB may also provide the Grouped Data to academic institutions or other research organisations in order to carry out specific pieces of research of benefit to British farmers. However, no direct or indirect identifiers will be made available without the approval of the Farmbench members.

If consent has been provided, researchers will be required not to identify which individual or business any of the data relate to and, in particular, not to attempt to match the individual data with any other source.


4. Data retention

The data collected under 3. above will be retained and used by AHDB as per the Data Protection Act 1988 Part IV, 33 Research, history and statistics. An individual can request deletion of their personal data at any time.

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