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Who is growing our food?
Fewer than two per cent of Canadians farm, and those that do are getting older. In fact, the average age of Canadian farmers reached 55 in 2016.
But for the  rst time in 25 years, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of young farmers in Canada (those under 35)11. More than half of young farmers supplement their farm income with off-farm revenue, working in management, business,  nance, trades, health, education, or natural resources and agriculture-related jobs. Their share of off- farm income varies signi cantly by farm type, which re ects the size and pro tability of the farming operation, the seasonality of production, and opportunities to work off-farm.
Many farmers in Canada today have come here from another country to farm. For example, almost 60 per cent of Canadian immigrant farmers in fruit and tree nut production come from India, and Punjabi is now the third-most popular mother tongue of new Canadians who farm.
German and Dutch are the two largest language groups among Canada’s immigrant farmers; that’s because almost three quarters of Canada’s immigrant dairy farmers come from the Netherlands and Switzerland12.
Because there is a severe shortage of labour on Canadian farms, and there aren’t enough willing domestic workers to  ll all the available jobs, Canada also relies on many seasonal and temporary foreign farm workers.
Career Pro le
Organic Grape Grower
Karnail Singh Sidhu
Karnail Singh Sidhu arrived in British Columbia in 1993 at the age of 25. While he trained as an electrical engineer in India, his quali cations weren’t recognized in Canada. Instead, Sidhu landed a job at a local winery, where his work ethic attracted the attention of the vineyard owner, who eventually funded his studies in viticulture (grape growing for wine) at Okanagan College and promoted him to vineyard manager.
In 2008, Sidhu opened Kalala Organic Estate Winery, with his wife Narinder, in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Their winery produces upwards of 72,000 bottles of wine annually, which are mostly sold throughout BC. His wife takes care of the business and administration; his brother helps in the vineyard, and his daughters, nieces, and nephews all help both in the vineyard and with bottling.
In 2020, he was named BC Viticulturist of the Year, partly due to his commitment to ongoing research and community involvement. He believes his mentors played an important role in his success, and pays
it forward today with his family, staff and other viticulturists. “Everyone has a different way of thinking,” said Sidhu, “I think we can learn a lot from sharing our views and our knowledge with others.”
Photo courtesy of the BC Wine Institute
What is an acre?
It’s an area of land about the size of 696,960 sticky notes13!
Bruce Sargent
Female and farming
Although the majority of farmers are still men, more women are farming today than ever before. Just under 30 per cent of farmers are female, according to the last census, compared to 25 per cent in 199614. One in  ve young female farmers study agriculture after high school, and overall, women in agriculture are two times more likely to have a university education now than they were 20 years ago.
Various women in agriculture, including female farmers, have been inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame for their outstanding contributions to their sectors.
JoAnne Buth, a former President of the Canola Council of Canada, helped oversee unprecedented growth for Canadian grains and oilseeds. She served two years in the Senate of Canada, and became the  rst female CEO of the Canadian International Grains Institute.
JoAnne Buth
Chapter 1: Canadian farms and farmers – who is growing our food?

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