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Canadian farms and farmers – who is growing our food?
Sache Family
Food and farming are a big deal in Canada. Not only do Canadians depend on farmers to produce the food we eat, but agriculture and agri-food provide jobs for more than 2.3 million people1. One in eight Canadian jobs is directly linked to the
sector, which contributed $142.7 billion2
to our national economy in 2019, and is thus a major driver of economic growth.
What does it mean to farm in Canada?
That question and answer depend on where you live. Farmers from coast to coast to coast raise a variety of livestock and poultry, and grow many different crops according to the climate and soils in their regions.
Canadian farms come in all types and sizes, from small orchards and vineyards to large grain farms and cattle ranches, varying in their ability to produce food.
A small piece of very fertile land can pro tably grow specialty vegetables for a niche market, for example, whereas a large 5,000-acre farm in a cooler climate with poorer soil is better suited for grazing animals.
At a glance...
It’s all about family: 97 per cent of Canada’s farms are family owned3.
Farms are bigger than in the past4:
the average Canadian farm was 820 acres in 2016, up from 779 acres in 2011,
and 237 in 1941. Technology means
that farmers can produce more food and manage larger farms than in the past.
There are fewer farms: Canada counted 193,492 farms in the last Canadian census (2016)4, as compared to 205,700 in 2011, and 276,500 in 1996.
Farms are diverse:5 Ontario has the most farms, but Saskatchewan’s are the biggest, and British Columbia has the largest number of small farms (those producing less than $10,000 in gross annual income). Canadian farms grow and raise everything from bison, alpacas, and mink, to lavender, grapes, greenhouse vegetables, and hazelnuts.
Canada feeds the world: we are the  fth largest exporter of agricultural and agri-food products in the world, including:
• 71 per cent of the world’s maple products (maple syrup and maple sugar)6
• 40 per cent of the world’s  axseed7
• 31 per cent of the world’s canola (world’s leading producer)8
• 39percentoftheworld’spulses (world’s leading producer of lentils and peas)9
• 52 per cent of the world’s mustard10
4 The Real Dirt on Farming

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