Farm surveys are an indispensable tool for use at all levels of agricultural policy and in important phases in agricultural economics research. This paper is an attempt to synthesise some of the more important recent discussions that have centred round the roles of surveys in economics in general and in farming in particular. Farm surveys are comparatively recent in Australia. There is need for more of them, covering not only technical and financial data, but personal, subjective and institutional data also. Such surveys should be regarded as prerequisites for more effective policy-making in agriculture, and as such, provision for them should he incorporated within policy for its guidance and evaluation.