Agriculture and farming in Canada main information
One of the most prominent agricultural producers and exporters worldwide is Canada. Due to the 20th century technical development, the proportion of agriculture employment and GDP has significantly decreased, but still, it is an important part of the Canadian economy. Canada has a wide range of agricultural practices and is known for its prominent wheat production and the Okanagan valley summer produce. The overview of Canadian agriculture is performed by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-food, a part of the federal government.
Agriculture in CanadaCanadian land is not the most favorable area for crop production. Less than one-twelfth of the land is suitable for agricultural procedures. The main part of the suitable land is located in the Prairie Provinces, owning to its summer days and proper conditions to provide vast grain yields. The largest number of crops and yields is located in southwestern British Columbia and southern Ontario, which are known for the optimal agricultural conditions.
Even though less than 4 percent of the Canadian labor force is employed in agriculture, it is an essential part of the Canadian economic system, providing large amounts of food both for domestic needs and export as well as is a rich source of raw materials essential for retail, wholesale and food processing industries. The Canadian farming system has noticed a significant change in its operating ways. It has been converted from the family farms to the large mechanized farm units which specialize in fewer products of higher quality with the use of modern, improved farming methods and breeds.
Different areas of the country are known for distinctive types of farming. As mentioned previously, the Prairies are specialised in the production of grain (mostly wheat), oilseeds (such as canola), as well as cattle grazing. Livestock and crops are an essential part of central and eastern Canada, where farmers are more specialized in particular crops or livestock types. Large production of maize (corn), beans and soybeans is located in southwestern Ontario, and both southern Ontario and southwestern British Columbia produce vast amounts of vegetables and fruits. Almost all major cities of Canada have their own important dairy producers. Due to the lack of proper agricultural conditions, lots of Canadian farmers decided to use genetically modified organisms, which may lead to their disfavour in exportability, especially to Europe. The practice of rearing animals and growing crops, mainly for food, is known as agriculture. Farming is also an essential part of the production of such items as oil, wool and other raw materials.
Canadian agriculture, being an important part of the economic system, faces many difficulties and challenges. Most of them concern health dangers, climate changes, lack of labor force as well as soil conversion, and crop protection. Some crops, especially fruit, vegetables, and flowers are grown in urban areas in specially accommodated greenhouses.
Canadian Agriculture SectorFarming and agricultural practices are an essential part of the Canadian economic system. Farmers supply not only food production but also processing industries. Canadian top products are poultry, vegetables, cattle, beef, and canola. Lots of the products are being exported, mainly maple syrup, meat, and crops. Canada is believed to be one of the most prominent agricultural exporters worldwide. In 2016 the total amount of exports was worth more than $60 billion.
Owning to the constant changes and developments of technology, Canadian agriculture is no longer limited to the traditional production of livestock and crops, for example, Canada has a prominent amount of aquaculture which is a special section of agriculture specialized in the cultivation of water living species. There are also different variants of farming that are currently further developed, such as the protected cultivation. This type of production mostly takes part in the urban areas in specially accommodated greenhouses. Some Canadian farmers tend to use only organic production methods. Owning to that the livestock and crops produced by them are highly regulated by audited conditions.
Many agricultural industries in Canada are fund by the federal and provincial governments with the special funding framework called the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Both agricultural export, trade, and researches are supported by the government. The framework also includes help for farmers in order to allow them to use new farming methods and technologies. These practices are essential for the further development of Canadian agriculture as well as may reduce the impact on the environment. The governments also set special regulations and rules as well as food legislation, providing food safety.
Canadian main agriculture productsThe socio-economic character of Canadian agriculture is affected by various different factors. In 2006, the Census of Agriculture enumerated a few: Agricultural engineering, modern machinery, and equipment, the quantity of livestock and farms, quantity of poultry, types of farms, biogeography, farm capital, and operation expenses as well as farm-related dangers and injuries.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Canadian agronomy was mostly related to vegetables, fruit, and grain crops, according to the surface area and their merits. Later, in 2007, five primary production sectors of Canadian agriculture was established by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture according to their cash receipts:
34% grain and oilseed crops
8% poultry and eggs production
According to 2018 data, Canada was the largest producer of rapeseed, dry pea, and lentil, the second-largest producer of oats, the 6th producer of wheat and barley, the 7th largest producer of soy, the 10th largest producer of maize (corn), and 12th largest producer of potato worldwide. In the same year, Canada also excelled at the production of flax, sugar beetroot, tomato, apple, carrots, beans, chickpeas, rye, onion, cabbage, cranberry, blueberry, mustard seed, mushroom, truffle, grape, as well as had a smaller production of various different products.
Oilseed and grainThe most popular Canadian agricultural products are grain crops. In 1925, Saskatchewan produced almost 6,500,000 metric tons of wheat. Other popular grain crops grown in Canada are rapeseed, barley, canola, rye, oats, flax as well as alfalfa.
Wheat is one of the most important products of Canadian crops. To improve harvest and farming, various different varieties of wheat were developed in the 20th century. One of the newest varieties was Red Fife, a type of wheat that could be seeded in autumn and sprout out in spring. This type of wheat sprouted earlier and was much harder than any other type of spring wheat. Thanks to further developments and researches, Red Fife led to the production of so-called Mini-Wheats which indicated almost complete resistance to rust and came to maturity in less than 100 days. Other types of wheat cultivated in Canada are winter wheat, spelt, and durum. Recently, rice has also become a popular product cultivated by Canadian farmers. Financial funds and assistance to help deal with the global economical crisis were established in 1935 under the name The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA). Owning to that, farmers are provided with essential water and land resources. Additionally, the farm credit program has established a special improved program that provides improved farm loans and stock bonds. The program is known as the Canadian Loan Act.
LivestockLivestock is an important part of Canadian agriculture. It is a process of raising cows and other animals mostly for food. Recently, apart from cattle, the food industry has been initiated with buffalo and elk. Sheep are raised both for their meat and wool. Also, there are several different attempts in improving pig farming. Owning to the process of domestication of farm animals, the corresponding industries such as animal husbandry, feedlots as well as meet processing have been further studied and developed. From the late 20th century, livestock production has been carefully studied, improved, and specialized. The number of Canadian animal farms changed from 8.1 per 100 inhabitants to 0.6 per 100 inhabitants. The fourth-largest industry in Canada, after canola, dairy products, and cattle, is the hog industry with cash receipts of $3.9 billion.
Dairy farmingOne of the most prominent sectors of Canadian agriculture is dairy farming. This sector is crucial for almost every province and the largest agricultural sector in seven out of ten provinces. Only in 2018, the total number of dairy cows was established as 967,700 on over 10,679 farms in Canada. The two most prominent dairy producers are Quebec and Ontario, which produce up to 37% and 33% of milk. Dairy farming is believed to be represented by 8% of all Canadian farmers. Even though dairy farming is still extremely popular and very important for Canadian agriculture, the number of farms has been significantly decreased. Farmers tend to get more specialized and more advanced farms, thanks to which the farms are less in numbers but bigger and more efficient. Canadian dairy farming generates yearly income in a total number of up to $19.9 billion yearly, sustains almost 221,000 jobs, and generates $3.8 billion in tax revenues. Dairy farming provides not only fluid milk but also other dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk. Canadian dairy products are regulated by a system of supply management. Under these circumstances, which also are the matter for eggs and poultry production sections, the production is managed in order to work with demands and forecasts over a preestablished period, bearing in mind certain imports entering Canada and the production destinated to export markets. Imports of dairy products, eggs and poultry are strictly controlled by TRQs (Tariff Rate Quotas). TRQs allow to control the number of imported tariff rates and maintain control over the imported amounts. Thanks to these regulations it is possible to maintain a fair price of dairy products and allow farmers to receive a price now lower than the real cost of dairy production. Even though the system seems to be unfair for some and has been questioned before, farmers and a dairy advocacy group claim that it is important to maintain proper quality milk and dairy products to customers.
Horticulture Horticulture is one of the newest branches of Canadian agriculture which is further developed thanks to the modernized greenhouses and plant hardiness zones. It mostly concerns the production of horticulture crops such as flowers, fruit, and nursery. Production of apples, prunes, plums, peaches, pears, apricots, cherries, berries, and a vast selection of different fruits reached mass production in regions of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. Canadian most exported products from this agricultural sector are maple syrup, maple sugar, maple butter, and maple taffy which are the products of Quebec. Other products that are prominently exported are potatoes, sugar beets, beetroot sugar, and hazelnuts.
ViticultureViticulture is a type of agriculture with a special focus on growing grapes for wine production. Canada's most prominent wine-producing regions are British Columbia and Ontario, but grapes are also grown in other regions, especially in Quebec and Maritimes. Wine production in Canada measures up to 56.2 million liters. 62% of the total amount of wine is produced in Ontario, while the rest is produced in wineries in other regions. The most popular type of wine produced in Canada is ice wine. Canada is the biggest ice wine producer worldwide. Most Canadian wineries are located in Ontario (6.900 hectares), British Columbia (4,152 hectares), Quebex (808 hectares), and New Scotia (290 hectares).
Poultry and eggsCanadian poultry and eggs production is a part of a system of supply management, just like dairy farming. Production is limited and restricted in order to allow farmers a fair price and sales no lower than the cost of production. Poultry and eggs are limited to up to 3000 poultry and 1000 egg farms in Canada.
Canadian farming regionsMost Canadian crops farming is limited to the Prairie provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba). Saskatchewan is the leading producer of durum, wheat, lentils, and canola. Manitoba is known for a large number of pig farms and is one of the leading potato producers. Alberta is the leading producer of beef cattle. British Columbia is a region known for the large production of vegetables, fruit eggs, poultry as well as aquaculture. It is also one of the leading producers of grapes and wine. Most poultry farms are located in Ontario which is also known as the second top place with the largest number of pig and dairy farms. It is also a region with the largest number of cannabis-growing procedures. Ontario is also known for its large corn and apple production in Canada. Most blueberries, dairy farms, and cows take place in Quebec. Agriculture in Atlantic Canada is equally divided between crops and livestock, where potatoes are a popular crop. Atlantic Canada is also one of the biggest food manufacturers in Canada.