A narrative concerning the transformation of the agriculture business and adaptiveness of Canadian farmers




Launched: 2022-05-11


The agriculture business is one which should at all times adapt shortly to a number of challenges, equivalent to excessive climate occasions, commerce disputes and fluctuating costs. Extra just lately, the COVID-19 pandemic added to those challenges within the type of labour shortages, disruptions within the meals provide chain, and rising enter costs. All of those points play a job within the well-being of farm operators. In view of those challenges, amassing details about the standing and resiliency of the agricultural sector is necessary.

Right now, Statistics Canada is releasing outcomes from the 2021 Census of Agriculture, which supplies new details about rising developments and points confronted by farm operators in Canada. Statistics Canada owes a debt of gratitude to Canadian farmers who took the time to reply the Census of Agriculture questions in these tough occasions.

Information from the Census of Agriculture point out that developments recognized in earlier census cycles, equivalent to business consolidation and getting old of farm operators, have continued in 2021. On the similar time, the agriculture business is adapting and modernizing, with larger charges of expertise adoption, renewable vitality manufacturing, use of direct advertising options, and sustainable farming practices.

As well as, the 2021 Census of Agriculture exhibits that livestock inventories and acreage for distinguished crops have remained fairly secure and even elevated modestly since 2016, suggesting that farmers have confirmed to be resilient within the face of COVID-19 challenges. The business has additionally been characterised by the emergence of area of interest sectors, as evidenced by the rise within the complete reported space for greenhouses.

In 2021, the Census of Agriculture counted 189,874 farms, a reasonable lower of 1.9% from 2016. Whereas farms in Canada reported a 3.2% lower in complete farm space from 2016, the whole space for hay and area crops elevated barely, by 0.3%, to 92.9 million acres in 2021. The variety of head reported for main livestock classes has additionally elevated modestly since 2016.

Farms labeled as oilseed and grain proceed to make up the most important proportion of farms in Canada. In 2021, there have been 65,135 oilseed and grain farms, accounting for 34.3% of complete farms. This was adopted by beef and feedlots (20.9%). In the meantime, 82.7% of complete farm space was accounted for by these two sectors, totalling 127.1 million acres.

Over the subsequent few months, Statistics Canada will proceed to current information developments on points confronted by the Canadian agriculture business, and introduce new methods to entry the Census of Agriculture information, together with details about native developments.

Change within the farm definition

A major conceptual change to the primary statistical unit utilized by Statistics Canada’s Agriculture Statistics Program has been launched for the 2021 Census of Agriculture: a “farm” or an “agricultural holding” (i.e., the census farm) now refers to a unit that produces agricultural merchandise and experiences revenues or bills for tax functions to the Canada Income Company. Earlier than 2021, a “farm” was outlined as an agricultural operation that produced at the least one agricultural product meant on the market. The change within the new farm definition might end in farms being labeled in another way throughout farm sorts than in earlier censuses. Consequently, comparisons with earlier census outcomes must be interpreted with warning. Readers are invited to seek the advice of the Word to readers for extra data on definitional modifications since 2016.

Massive farms proceed to vary the face of the agriculture business

Over time, farms have been evolving to turn into more and more subtle companies that harmonize automation, modernization and manufacturing operations. Consequently, many farms have consolidated and turn into more and more bigger each by way of gross sales and variety of workers. Conversely, smaller and mid-sized farms are declining in Canada, thereby impacting the agricultural panorama and profile of Canadian areas.

Persevering with the development of farm consolidation from the earlier census, the proportion of farms within the high two gross sales lessons elevated, whereas the variety of smaller farms declined. The proportion of farms with gross sales of $1 million or extra in 2020 was 9.9%, up from 7.2% in 2015.

Farms within the high gross sales lessons additionally account for the most important share of complete farm working revenues and a bigger share of complete farm workers. For instance, in 2021, farms reporting at the least $2 million in gross sales accounted for 51.5% of complete farm working revenues. This in contrast with 41.5% in 2016.

Farms making ready to move on to the subsequent era

The getting old of Canadian farmers will not be a brand new phenomenon and follows normal inhabitants developments. Just lately launched information from the 2021 Census of Inhabitants indicated that the median age of Canadians was 41.6 years (up from 41.2 in 2016) and that 33.1% of Canadians had been at the least 55 years outdated.

The typical age of Canada’s farm operators elevated by 1.0 12 months, to 56.0 years in 2021. In the meantime, the median age of farm operators rose by 2.0 years from the earlier census, reaching 58.0 years in 2021.

The proportion of farm operators aged 55 and older (older operators) grew by 6.0 proportion factors from the earlier census. In 2016, 54.5% of operators had been aged 55 and older, rising to 60.5% in 2021. Conversely, Canada’s share of younger operators was 8.6%, down barely from 9.1% in 2016.

Chart 1 

Chart 1: Proportion of farm operators by age category, Canada, 2016 and 2021

Proportion of farm operators by age class, Canada, 2016 and 2021


Chart 1: Proportion of farm operators by age category, Canada, 2016 and 2021

The challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the getting old of Canadian farmers might have brought on some farm operators to think about succession plans for his or her farms. In 2021, 6,673 extra farms reported having a succession plan than in 2016.

The proportion of farms in Canada reporting a succession plan elevated from 8.4% in 2016 to 12.0% in 2021. As was the case within the earlier census, farms labeled as oilseed and grain farming accounted for the most important share (44.5%) of farms reporting a succession plan in 2021.

From 2016 to 2021, intermediate-sized farms reporting working revenues from $50,000 to $99,999 reported the best proportional improve (+3.9 proportion factors) in succession planning in contrast with the opposite gross sales lessons.

Business consolidation and getting old of farmers have led to fewer farms and farm operators

Because of business consolidation and getting old of farm operators, the variety of farms dropped by 1.9% from 2016 (193,492 farms) to 2021 (189,874 farms). The decline within the variety of farms, nonetheless, was the smallest in 25 years.

The lower within the variety of farms resulted in a 3.5% decline within the variety of farm operators reported from the earlier census. In 2016, there have been 271,935 farm operators, and by 2021 the quantity decreased to 262,455.

On the similar time, the variety of feminine operators has elevated for the primary time since 1991. In 2021, there have been 79,795 feminine farm operators, up from 77,970 in 2016. In 2021, 30.4% of complete farm operators had been feminine, up from 28.7% in 2016.

Increased land values might characterize a barrier to entry into the business

The worth of land is a crucial issue within the funding and administration selections of farms, significantly in an setting more and more outlined by massive market gamers. Robust commodity costs, low rates of interest and a rising demand for housing in city areas have been recognized as contributing elements to the rising worth of farmland in Canada.

The reported complete market worth of land and buildings for farms in Canada elevated by 22.7% (in fixed 2021 {dollars}) from the earlier census, totalling $603.8 billion in 2021. The market worth of owned land, buildings and stuck gear elevated by 19.1% from 2016, to $420.9 billion in 2021. The market worth of land and buildings rented from others or governments totalled $182.9 billion in 2021, up 32.0% from 2016.

The market worth of all farm autos, equipment and gear elevated by 3.9% from the earlier census, reaching $64.4 billion in 2021.

Sustainable practices changing into an indicator of the agriculture business

One other supply of transformation within the agriculture sector is using sustainable practices to deal with local weather change. These variations are necessary, because the frequency of utmost local weather occasions has elevated lately and such occasions may characterize a problem for the business in years to return.

Land apply strategies embrace in-field winter grazing or feeding, rotational grazing, plowing down inexperienced crops, planting winter cowl crops, and having shelterbelts or windbreaks. In 2020, 64.5% of farms reported land practices, up from 53.7% in 2015.

One other method Canadian farms have tailored to hotter and drier situations has been by shifting their focus to extra drought-tolerant crops, equivalent to barley. From 2016 to 2021, farms in Canada reported a 24.3% improve in barley acreage. This was the largest proportion improve among the many high 10 contributors of hay and area crops reported in Canada. In 2016, farms reported 6.7 million acres of barley, and by 2021 there have been 8.3 million acres.

In response to the rising demand for natural merchandise, the variety of farms that reported producing natural merchandise elevated 31.9% from the earlier census. In 2021, 5,658 farms reported rising natural merchandise. These farms made up 3.0% of complete farms in 2021, in contrast with 2.2% in 2016.

Farmers are transitioning in the direction of renewable vitality manufacturing

Over the previous few years, quite a few packages and insurance policies have been carried out by governments to encourage farmers to undertake renewable vitality manufacturing strategies, equivalent to photo voltaic vitality manufacturing.

In 2021, there have been greater than twice as many farms reporting renewable vitality manufacturing than within the earlier census. The variety of farms reporting renewable vitality manufacturing elevated from 10,185 within the earlier census to 22,576 in 2021.

Expressed as a proportion of complete farms, near 1 in 8 farms in Canada (11.9%) reported some type of renewable vitality manufacturing in 2021, greater than double the speed (5.3%) within the earlier census. Photo voltaic vitality manufacturing remained the commonest type of renewable vitality manufacturing on Canadian farms, because the variety of farms that reported producing this type of vitality elevated by 66.5% from the earlier census to 2021.

Expertise use is one other rising development within the agriculture business because it improves the accuracy and effectivity of farm processes and helps farms keep aggressive within the world commerce market. Examples of applied sciences that grew to become extra distinguished from 2015 to 2020 embrace automated steerage steering programs (+28.2%) and geographic data system mapping (+58.6%).

Farmers guaranteeing that Canada’s agricultural outputs are maintained in the course of the pandemic

Information from the 2021 Census of Agriculture present that livestock inventories and acreage for distinguished crops have remained fairly secure and even elevated modestly since 2016. As famous above, complete hay and area crop space elevated by 0.3% since 2016, to 92.9 million acres.

As was the case in 2016, canola remained the highest crop acreage in Canada amongst all varieties of hay and area crops in 2021, regardless of a ban from China that restricted complete canola exports from Canada in 2018 and 2019. In 2021, farms in Canada reported 22.3 million acres of canola, an 8.1% improve in canola acreage from the earlier census. The variety of farms reporting canola rose 0.8% from 2016 to 2021.

Canola acreage was not the one area crop to extend from the earlier census. For instance, farms reported a 2.1% improve in spring wheat acreage from 2016. Spring wheat remained the second-largest crop reported in Canada in 2021, with 16.0 million acres, adopted by barley, alfalfa and durum wheat.

Chart 2 

Chart 2: Proportion of hay and field crops, Canada, 2021

Proportion of hay and area crops, Canada, 2021


Chart 2: Proportion of hay and field crops, Canada, 2021

Livestock numbers remaining regular regardless of pandemic and labour challenges

The pandemic posed many challenges to the Canadian livestock sector from 2020 to 2021. One of many extra important challenges was the early shutdown of meat processing services in an effort to include outbreaks of COVID-19. A labour scarcity additional challenged the meat processing business.

Cattle and calf inventories elevated barely from the earlier census. In 2021, farms in Canada reported 12.6 million complete cattle, up from 12.5 million in 2016. The proportion improve in milk cows, steers and beef cows offset declines in heifers for slaughter, heifers for dairy herd substitute, heifers for beef herd substitute and bulls.

Farms in Canada reported a 3.4% improve within the variety of hogs and pigs from the earlier census. In 2021, there have been 14.6 million hogs and pigs in Canada, up from 14.1 million in 2016. Throughout the identical interval, complete exports in Canadian {dollars} for hogs and pigs to the US elevated 27.7%. Whereas the variety of hogs and pigs elevated, the variety of farms reporting hogs and pigs decreased 11.7%, indicating rising focus inside the business.

The entire variety of sheep and lambs edged down 0.2% from the earlier census, with a complete rely of 1.1 million head in 2021. In the meantime, the variety of farms reporting sheep and lambs decreased 9.6% over that interval. In 2016, there have been 9,390 farms reporting sheep and lambs, and by 2021 the quantity decreased to 8,487.

The entire variety of chickens in Canada elevated by 4.7% from the earlier census, for a complete of 152.3 million head in 2021, regardless of a lower within the variety of farms reporting chickens (-1.5%). The rise in hen inventories was pushed by farms with gross sales of at the least $2 million, the place the respective farm numbers rose 27.9%, up from 949 in 2016. In the meantime, the variety of turkeys decreased 27.8%, whereas the variety of farms reporting turkeys declined 17.3% from 2016 to 2021.

Greenhouse sector is rising as a key business in Canadian agriculture

One improvement within the horticulture sector has been the expansion of the greenhouse business, which constitutes another method to offer a gentle provide of contemporary produce to native communities.

Farms in Canada reported a 23.2% improve in complete greenhouse space from the earlier census, to 330.5 million sq. ft in 2021. In the meantime, the whole greenhouse space for fruit and greens was 219.7 million sq. ft in 2021, which accounted for round two-thirds (66.5%) of Canada’s complete greenhouse space.

In the meantime, the whole space of fruits, berries and nuts elevated 0.4%, from 332,812 acres in 2016 to 334,182 acres in 2021. Conversely, the whole space of area greens decreased barely to 260,757 acres, down from 270,294 acres in 2016.

Farms incur 83 cents in bills for each greenback of income

Farm working revenues in Canada totalled $87.0 billion in 2020, whereas bills reached $72.2 billion. On common, for each greenback in revenues, farms incurred 83 cents in bills. The expenses-to-revenues ratio throughout farm sorts exhibits that farms labeled as oilseed and grain farming had been probably the most worthwhile farm sort in 2020, with an expenses-to-revenues ratio of 0.76. Conversely, sheep and goat farms had the best ratio, at 0.97.

Farmers are adapting the methods they promote to folks in the course of the pandemic

In response to pandemic-related well being measures that restricted contacts, direct supply to customers grew to become the second most regularly reported direct gross sales methodology, behind on-site stands, in 2020. Half (50.1%) of the farms that reported direct gross sales used direct supply.

Each the proportion and variety of farms reporting direct gross sales elevated from the earlier census. In 2020, 13.6% of farms reported direct gross sales, up from 12.7% in 2015, whereas the variety of farms reporting such gross sales elevated from 24,510 to 25,917 throughout the identical interval.

As was the case within the earlier census, vegetable and melon farms had been the most definitely to report direct gross sales. In 2020, 52.2% of farms labeled as vegetable and melon reported direct gross sales, up from 50.2% in 2015.

Smaller farms are extra reliant on direct gross sales

Direct gross sales made up a much bigger a part of smaller farms’ complete working income. In 2020, farms with lower than $10,000 in gross sales accounted for practically half (47.9%) of farms during which direct gross sales represented greater than three-quarters of complete farm working revenues. In the meantime, farms with $2 million or extra in gross sales accounted for 0.8% of farms during which direct gross sales represented greater than three-quarters of complete revenues.

Extra farm operators are turning to off-farm work

The variety of farm operators working off the farm elevated by 3.8% from the earlier census. In 2020, 47.7% of farm operators in Canada reported off-farm work. In 2015, there have been 120,665 farm operators reporting off-farm work, and by 2020 the quantity elevated to 125,280.

Of those farm operators, the proportion who labored off the farm on a full-time foundation declined barely from 68.1% in 2015 to 66.0% in 2020, whereas the variety of these working half time without work the farm elevated from 31.9% to 34.0%.

Chart 3 

Chart 3: Proportion of farm operators working off the farm by type of employment, Canada, 2015 and 2020

Proportion of farm operators working off the farm by sort of employment, Canada, 2015 and 2020


Chart 3: Proportion of farm operators working off the farm by type of employment, Canada, 2015 and 2020

Hashish: A brand new business

In response to the legalization of hashish for non-medical use, Statistics Canada collected information on hashish for the primary time within the Census of Agriculture. Later in 2022, Statistics Canada will launch Census of Agriculture information on hashish operations. These complete information will current the financial contributions of hashish operations to the agricultural business in Canada. Word that current launch and corresponding information tables exclude hashish operations. Different sources of knowledge that embrace hashish information are farm money receipts and internet farm revenue.
















  Word to readers

Right now, Statistics Canada is happy to launch data from the 2021 Census of Agriculture. Along with commonplace tables and historic developments, a brand new information visualization instrument offering data on key traits of farms, farm operators and agricultural staff can also be obtainable. Over the subsequent few months, Statistics Canada will publish a collection of articles that may present further data on key financial, social and environmental points dealing with the business in Canadian Agriculture at a Look.

The subsequent launch, on June 15, will concentrate on disaggregated information and regional developments, with the discharge of profiles for all provinces and territories, a mapping instrument together with 2021 and 2016 Census of Agriculture information, and a brand new interactive instrument that may enable customers to shortly entry Census of Agriculture information for his or her local people.

Definitions and ideas

The information displayed by geography have undergone random tabular adjustment. The Canada complete information for geographic breakdowns might differ from the Canada complete information displayed in tables by North American Business Classification System (NAICS) class and gross sales class.

The information for Yukon and the Northwest Territories should not included within the nationwide totals; they’re offered individually.

The Census of Agriculture is performed each 5 years and is a census of all agricultural operations that produces agricultural merchandise and experiences revenues or bills for tax functions to the Canada Income Company. Vital ideas used on this evaluation embrace:

Complete farm space, which is land owned or operated by an agricultural operation, contains: cropland, summer season fallow, improved and unimproved pasture, woodlands and wetlands, all different land (together with idle land and land on which farm buildings are situated).

Farm sort is established by a process that classifies every census farm in response to the predominant sort of manufacturing. That is executed by estimating the potential revenues from the inventories of crops and livestock reported on the questionnaire and figuring out the product or group of merchandise that make up the vast majority of the estimated receipts. For instance, a census farm with complete potential revenues of 60% from hogs, 20% from beef cattle and 20% from wheat, can be labeled as a hog and pig farm. The farm sorts offered on this doc are derived based mostly on the 2017 NAICS.

Farm operator refers to any particular person accountable for the administration selections in working a farm or agricultural operation. Also called an agricultural operator, farmer, operator or rancher.

Farm workers embrace each farm operators and agricultural staff.

Worth indexes had been used to acquire fixed greenback estimates of gross sales, export values and farm belongings to be able to eradicate the impression of worth change in year-to-year comparisons.

Farm working revenues

Farm working revenues come from the Agriculture Taxation Information Program (ATDP). Beforehand, revenues for agricultural operations had been reported to the Census of Agriculture. Warning must be taken when evaluating the 2021 Census of Agriculture information with earlier censuses.

The Census of Agriculture measures farm working revenues (in present {dollars}) for the calendar or accounting 12 months previous to the census. Farm working revenues (earlier than deducting bills) on this evaluation embrace: working revenues from all agricultural merchandise offered, program funds and customized work revenues.

The next should not included in farm working revenues: gross sales of forestry merchandise (for instance: firewood, pulpwood, logs, fence posts and pilings); gross sales of capital objects (for instance: quota, land, equipment); and revenues from the sale of any items bought just for retail gross sales.

Complete working bills

Complete working bills come from the ATDP. Beforehand, bills for agricultural operations had been reported to the Census of Agriculture. Warning must be taken when evaluating the 2021 Census of Agriculture information with earlier censuses.

The Census of Agriculture measures working bills (in present {dollars}) for the calendar or accounting 12 months previous to the census. Complete working bills embrace any expense related to producing agricultural merchandise (equivalent to the price of seed, feed, gas, fertilizers).

The next should not included in complete working bills: the acquisition of land, buildings or gear, and depreciation or capital price allowance. Depreciation represents financial “put on and tear” expense. Capital price allowance represents the quantity of depreciation written off by the tax filer as allowed by tax laws.

Bills-to-revenues ratio

The expenses-to-revenues ratio is the common quantity of working bills incurred for a greenback in farm working revenues. The ratio is calculated in present {dollars}.

Census Day was Could 11, 2021. Farmers had been requested to report their working revenues and bills for the final full fiscal or calendar 12 months (2020).

Full-time employment is classed as farm operators who labored 30 hours or extra per week; part-time employment is classed as farm operators who labored lower than 30 hours per week.

Some information confer with a reference interval aside from Census Day. For instance, for monetary information the reference interval is the calendar or accounting (fiscal) 12 months previous to the census.

Statistics Canada’s ongoing dedication to cut back the response burden of farmers

In an try to cut back the response burden on farmers whereas persevering with to offer high quality statistical data, Statistics Canada launched an initiative to maneuver past a survey-first method. This was executed by utilizing various information equivalent to Earth Statement and tax information, and superior applied sciences equivalent to modelling and machine studying, to interchange conventional surveys.

You may learn extra about this initiative within the StatCan Weblog: Decreasing the response burden imposed on farmers and companies.

Correction: On Could 19, the working revenues and bills information in Desk 4 had been corrected; the magnitude of the change was lower than 1% and the bills to revenues ratios are unchanged.


Merchandise

The Information to the Census of Agriculture, 2021 is accessible on the Statistics Canada web site.

The Census of Agriculture: Farm and Farm Operator Information Visualization Device is now obtainable on the Statistics Canada web site.

For a whole checklist of our merchandise, go to the Census of Agriculture portal.

For extra data on agriculture and meals, go to the Agriculture and meals statistics portal.

Contact data

For extra data, or to investigate concerning the ideas, strategies or information high quality of this launch, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).



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