It’s important to read our user guides before completing your assessment.
- For a quick overview, see our 6-step QuickStart
- This user guide talks you through what the Global Farm Metric Research Tool is, what information you need, and how to complete the assessment.
- The technical guide tells you how to use the online tool, including important information on how to save your progress.
- You can also use our data checklist to see what data you need to collect and when.
These videos show you how to use the Global Farm Metric Research Tool. More information can be found in the FAQ section below and transcripts of the videos can be found in the YouTube description.
What is the GFM Research Tool?
The GFM Research Tool (UK) is an open-source self-assessment tool created to trial the GFM framework.
It has been built to test whether this method of data capture and the outputs provided in the GFM Research Tool helps farmers and land managers to:
- Set and monitor progress towards sustainability goals
- Make incremental improvements to farming practices
- Learn about and reduce the negative impacts the farm may be having
- Improve the local environment
- Prepare for upcoming changes to the UK agricultural policy
- Save time inputting the same information into multiple assessments
Who is the GFM Research Tool for?
The tool can be used in the UK on farms of all sizes that produce food (including crops, livestock, vegetables, fruit).
What are the assessment boundaries?
The GFM Research Tool assessment collects information over a 12-month period which can be a calendar year, a financial year or from harvest to harvest.
Information collected is restricted to the farmgate (i.e. products entering or leaving the farm) and the farm business (e.g. if land is rented out, the rental income is included in the assessment, but not the activity that takes place on the rented land, such as sheep grazing).
The categories and questions are based on the GFM. Data collection and input should take approximately 6-8 hours in total.
What do I do if I have multiple enterprises?
How long does it take to complete?
It takes approximately 6-8 hours to collect all your data and input it into the tool.
We recommend this process is divided over a 12 month period, following the order of the Q&A sessions (more details of which are provided on sign -up).
Data collection and input is made easier as most of the information asked for in the tool is requested in other assessments and certification schemes. This is because, once adopted, the framework is designed to reduce potential duplication of data entry.
How is my data used?
The tool is hosted online, but none of your data is stored online -you must save you data to your local desktop. Find out how to save your progress here.
To share your results, please return your downloaded.JSON data file to email@example.com
Your data is used as outlined in the Privacy Notice and Terms and Conditions shared with you on trial sign up.
All information you share with us is used for research purposes only and all information is kept completely private. Your data will be anonymised to create sustainability benchmarks for the development of the GFM.
Do I have to fill in sensitive information, such as financials?
Your data is protected as outlined in the T&Cs and will be treated with the utmost care in line with GDPR policies as outlined in your sign up email.
We would encourage you to take the time to complete as much of the assessment as possible for you to gain a more complete picture of your farming business, the more you complete the more useful it should be. We do understand that there may be data you do not wish to share as part of this pilot, that’s fine, just move onto the areas you’re comfortable completing.
How do I access the tool?
To access the tool, please sign up using the form at the top of this page.
How do I complete the assessment?
You can then start gathering the data you need to complete the tool using our data checklist.
Follow the link in your emails to the online tool. Input your data.
Once you’ve completed the assessment, please fill in our 5 minute online survey and return your final data file to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I save my progress?
Although the GFM Research Tool is a web-based tool, none of your data is stored online. You must save you data to your local desktop.
To do this, you must frequently download your data using the button in the top right-hand corner. This will create a .json file that saves directly onto your computer – we recommend doing this frequently and saving each download with today’s date so you can easily open the latest version.
To re-open your latest assessment, select the upload button in the top right-hand corner and select your last saved file from your computer.
Once your file has been selected, click ‘download data’ then, if no other assessment is in progress, select ‘yes’ to replacing existing assessments – If ‘no’ is selected, your data will be uploaded onto a new tab.
How do I compare two assessments?
You can now compare two different assessments to help track change over time. You can also use this function to explore different scenarios by cloning the current assessment, modifying your answers and seeing what changes.
To do this:
How do I reveal my scores?
To reveal your category score, click ‘update score’ on the bottom right-hand corner to reveal a score in the top row dial. Please make sure all questions are completed.
To see your final results, click the button on the far-right hand side of the category bar. Here you can see how you scored in all your categories and indicators, as well as the results of other key outputs. These can also be downloaded as a PDF.
What do I do once I’ve completed the assessment?
Once you’ve input all your data, you can view final results by clicking on the tab on the far-right hand side. Here you can see how you scored in all your categories and indicators, as well as the results of key outputs.
It is important to complete our closing survey and send a copy of your final .json file to email@example.com. Your data will be kept entirely anonymous and will only be used for research purposes, helping us to achieve our ambition of creating a common framework for measuring on-farm sustainability.
To investigate the potential effects of changing or introducing new practices or management to the farm, you can duplicate your assessment and input the proposed changes on the relevant questions. You can then upload both versions and see what’s changed by clicking the ‘compare’ button that will appear next to the upload button.
How do I share feedback?
Your feedback is a vital part of the development of the GFM, to ensure the framework is useable and useful to farmers.
You can also leave comments through the tool by clicking on the smiley face on the right-hand side or the ‘ideas and feedback’ button in the bottom left-hand corner.
Why is an error message popping up?
Where questions are dependent on answers to other questions, an error message may pop up if the answer is missing.
Click on the question number to move to the missing question and fill in an answer. The most common reason this happens, is if questions in initial data collection are left unanswered. If you left an answer requiring a number blank, you may need to add a zero instead.
There are still some bugs to uncover and fix at this stage of tool development, so if you are still having problems, please record the error message and report it by clicking on the smiley face on the right hand side or the ‘ideas and feedback’ button in the bottom left hand corner.
Does the GFM give me a whole-farm carbon footprint?
The Air and Climate category shows the greenhouse gasses emitted for your crops, livestock and livestock products. These are automatically calculated using standard data for production of agricultural commodities in the UK. The calculations are based on the number of livestock or tonnes of crops exported from the farm. This can indicate high emitting enterprises on farm, helping to identify the key areas to address and reduce impacts.
For a more in-depth understanding of your emissions, we recommend using an additional carbon farm tool. You can then compare your results to the average figure given in your GFM results.
We are currently developing a whole-farm carbon calculator as part of the GFM.
Why isn’t Air & Climate scored in the GFM Research Tool?
The greenhouse gas footprint of your products (crops, livestock and livestock products) is automatically calculated using the answers you give in Initial Data and Productivity, as well as standard data for production of agricultural commodities in the UK (see here for examples of standard data). The calculations are based on the number of livestock or tonnes of crops exported from the farm.
We do not yet score this category because it uses only standard data for GHG emissions and does not account for any specific practices on the farm that may impact GHG emissions.
Where can I find help?
Still have questions? There are other options available to help you complete the GFM Research Tool.
- See our user and technical guide for answers to FAQs, including what to do if your score isn’t updating.
- We host regular Q&A sessions where we share tips for data collection and answer any questions you may have. Once you’ve signed up to the tool, we will email you details of these.
- See our website for useful videos, resources and FAQs.
UK Farm Trials 2022
How does the Global Farm Metric work in practice?
The Global Farm Metric framework was embedded into a research tool that enabled farmers to self-assess their sustainability. The trials collected feedback from over 40 farms across the UK, from a range of farming scales and systems.
All farmers who completed the trial gained a better understanding and developed a more targeted approach to on-farm sustainability. A whole-farm framework effectively supported decision making and drove progress towards reducing negative impacts and unintended consequences, while improving social, environmental and economic outcomes. Over 70% of farmers had a wider and more nuanced definition of sustainability and a better understanding of the positive relationship between sustainability and their farm business. This enabled knowledge exchange between different types farmers and better, more transparent, dialogue along the supply chain.
“Using the framework showed that by changing our ways of working we can benefit both farm productivity and the environment – beyond just re-wilding or no-till” – Rachel Davies, mixed farm, Monmouthshire (Wales)*
Below are the latest report of the GFM