The core of the ARGOS research design is a longitudinal panel study. Panels of 12 farms were selected to represent conventional, integrated and organic management for the sheep/beef sector, Kiwigreen, gold and organic management for the kiwifruit sector, and conventional and organic management for the dairy sector. The research involves gathering data on these farms in order to assess the nature of production from environmental, economic and social points of view and the design rests on testing the null hypothesis that there is no difference between management systems. Farms in the panels were generally typical of their sectors in terms of obvious characteristics such as size, level of production etc. Farms from a range of geographies and with different levels of intensity of production were chosen in order to achieve results that would be applicable to a broad range of farms.