A Global Project For Comparative Farm Analysis: The International Farm Comparison Network IFCN
Before IFCN was founded, existing farm-level data sets for international comparisons – if there were any – were not comparable. Differences from country to country regarding methodology applied, extent of data sets (physical and financial figures), and availability of up-to-date figures caused the incomparability. The IFCN is a world-wide association of ag-ricultural scientists, advisors and farmers. Within the framework of this co-operation, farms and agricultural production systems are defined that are typical for their regions. Their eco-nomic situation is analysed, and the farms can be projected into the future. At present, the network, which is coordinated by the IFCN-centre in Braunschweig, Germany, operates for three branches: dairy (> 30 countries), beef and cow-calf (15 countries) and cash crop (13 countries). Funding of the network is organised via consortium fees from the partners as well as national and international supporters from agribusiness. The IFCN works on an annual schedule, organises annual conferences and annual reports for each product branch. With the existing data and information base, additional specific studies are carried out. Results comprise total cost, returns and profitability of dairy, beef and cash crop pro-duction, cost component analysis, benchmarking of single farms and farm groups, baseline projections, policy impact and farm strategy analysis as well as global sector and product information. The next steps foreseen are to extend the networks to more countries and more farms, to improve the supply reaction analysis on changing framework conditions, to intensify time series analysis of typical farms and prices, to strengthen sector and supply chain analysis, and to enter strategic partnerships with market and sector modelling pro-jects.
Keywords: Farm comparisons, typical farms, international competitiveness, International Farm Comparison Network.