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Anna Haupt
Here are a few examples of how Canadian farms work:
• Most are owned and run by families (97 per cent), sometimes with multiple generations working together.
• Some are incorporated, as many Canadian businesses are. According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture, 22.5 per cent of Canadian farms are family corporations
(only 2.7 per cent of Canadian farms are non-family corporations).15 A corporation is a type of business structure that may include several family members or additional paid employees. It does not relate to a farm’s size. Farmers may incorporate their farms for a variety of business reasons, including to help with succession planning for future generations.
• Family farming is the main form of farming and food production around the world, in both developing and more developed countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, family farms produce about
80 per cent of the world’s food.16
Farms big and small
Farms in Canada come in all types
and sizes, from small orchards and vineyards, to large grain farms and cattle ranches. They also vary in environmental characteristics, and in their ability to produce food. A small piece of land, for example, can be very fertile and pro tably grow specialty vegetables for a niche market. In contrast, a large 5,000-acre farm in a colder climate may be mostly trees and rocks, and better suited for grazing animals.
Farmers also tend to specialize in a speci c area of food production, such as a greenhouse, or a dairy farm. This focus
Aerial view of a Saskatchewan beef ranch
Dwane Morvik
helps to improve both ef ciency and the ability of each farmer to learn and adapt to challenges in his or her own area of expertise.
There can be nostalgia surrounding perceptions of the farms of the past. Back then, environmental awareness was lower, food quality and quantity were more unpredictable, and food was sometimes not available at certain times of the year. Research, innovation, and a perpetual commitment to learning continue to build progress in environmental and animal care, while improving food quality, safety and abundance.
A challenge for today’s farms is feeding Canadians sustainably – growing enough food in ways that are good for people, animals, and the planet. All farms, large or small, have a role to play.
Inside a vegetable greenhouse
6 The Real Dirt on Farming

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