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Canadian farming - the big picture
Farming is like no other sector in Canada: it’s both a business and
a way of life. The agriculture and agri-food sector is a big deal in Canada, employing over 2.3 million people – that’s one in eight jobs – and contributing $108.1 billion to our national economy.1
Just as Canada’s provinces are different from coast to coast, so are its farms. In fact, there’s no such thing as a typical Canadian farm – farms range in size and type, with farmers from Newfoundland to British Columbia growing many different crops and raising a variety of livestock and poultry.
Bethany Atkinson
(such as peas, beans and lentils),9 mustard, and durum wheat (the kind used to make pasta).10 Due to differing climate zones across the country, Canadian farmers also grow and raise everything from bison, alpacas, and mink, to lavender, grapes, greenhouse vegetables, and hazelnuts.
A quick snapshot:
• Farming means family in Canada – 97 per cent of Canada’s farms are family owned.2
• Statistics Canada recorded 193,492 farms in its 2016 census, which is 5.9 per cent fewer than in the 2011 census. However, that’s the lowest rate of decline in the last 20 years.3
• The farms that remain are becoming larger, though. The average Canadian farm in 2016 was 820 acres – up from 779 acres in 2011, and 237 in 1941. This evolution is in part a result of technological advances allowing farmers to work more ef ciently, as well as wider business and societal shifts.
Ontario has the most farms – 49,600 in 2016 – but Saskatchewan’s are the largest, followed by farms in Alberta and Manitoba.
Among Canada’s approximately 2.467 billion acres of land, only about
6.5 per cent - or 158.7 million acres – are being farmed.4 The rest is made up of towns, cities, industrial areas, or land that is not suitable for farming because it is too rocky, wet or cold, or the soil is not fertile enough.
Canada is the  fth largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products in the world.5 We produce about 80 per cent of the world’s pure maple syrup, and are the leading global producer of maple products.6 We are also the world’s largest grower and exporter of  ax seed,7 canola,8 pulses
Quick Fact
How big is an acre? It’s about the size of one U.S. football  eld (minus the end zones).11
4 The Real Dirt on Farming

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