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Abstract

Benchmarking is the practice of establishing the relative performance of a business or enterprise against an appropriate standard, generally industry standards derived from a survey of farms. The Policy Commission into the Future of Farming and Food (2002) highlighted a need to spread and improve benchmarking on farms. The requirements of effective benchmarking are illustrated in a ten step framework. The ten steps illustrate the range of expertise and resources a manager requires before being able to justify allocating resources to benchmarking. A comparison of alternative farm surveys and methodologies used to collect, analyse and report industry standards illustrates the difficulties farmers can have in identifying appropriate, robust and accurate industry standards. It is concluded that there needs to be a thorough rationalisation of farm surveys and agreement on methodologies to make benchmarking more effective and more efficient.

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