More from the ag land census report

Total farm sales reached $69.4 billion in 2016, as Canada remains one of the world’s leading exporters of agriculture products.

eight times larger than in 1871. At the end of the 19th century, when a dozen eggs cost 26 cents and a loaf of bread cost 4 cents (Bank of Canada, 2005, A History of the Canadian Dollar), the average farm made $714 (current dollars) annually, compared with an average of $358,503 per farm in 2015. Growth has been possible due to the ongoing shift towards increasing industrialization, mechanization and specialization in the agriculture sector. The use of technology and equipment has allowed farms to be more efficient, with increased precision and automation. The average value of machinery and equipment reached $278,405 per farm in 2016, compared with $213 (current dollars) per farm in 1901. As part of this shift there are now fewer horses reported on agricultural operations, with nearly three times more horses reported in 1871 than in 2016.


Organic trend slow Between 2011 and 2016, the number of farms reporting certified or transitional organic production increased by 4.1 per cent, from 4,120 operations to 4,289. These farms represented 2.2 per

cent of all farms in Canada in 2016, compared with two per cent in 2011. While the number of certified organic operations decreased by 50 farms, to 3,663 farms in 2016, the number of transitional organic farms increased by 226 farms, to 769 operations in 2016. Compared to the rest of Canada, the

focus in B.C. seems to be on small, with four in 10 farms showing less than $10,000 in receipts, more than

20 British Columbia Berry Grower • Fall-Winter 2017

arms continued to grow in size, with average farm area reaching 820 acres per farm in 2016,

double the national average. In 2016, 41.6 per cent of B.C. farms

were classed as small, while the national figure was 17.7 per cent. There were 17,528 farms in B.C.,

down 11.3 per cent from 2011, nearly double the decline nationally. B.C. ranked fifth in the number of farms, accounting for 9.1 per cent of the total nationally. That included

12,340 acres in fruits, berries and nuts. The total farm

greenhouse production, livestock, poultry and field crops. B.C. also has the highest proportion

area over which farmers had stewardship in B.C. decreased 0.8 per cent from 2011 to 6.4 million acres in 2016. The drop in total farm area was accompanied by a 3.1 per cent decline in cropland to 1.4 million acres.

While British Columbia’s total farm area fell, average farm size grew from 327 acres in 2011 to 365 during the next five years.

of female farm operators, at 37.5 per cent, up from 36.5 per cent in 2011. Across the country, women accounted for 28.7 per cent of all farm operators. And, they’re older, with 58.5 per cent of B.C. farm

operators 55 and older. But, the proportion under 35 increased to 6.9 per cent from 5.4 per cent in 2011. The average

age of B.C. farmers has gone up from 55.7 to 56.3 years over the last five years.

While the total farm area fell, average farm size grew from 327 acres in 2011 to 365 acres in 2016. This five-year period saw shifts of area away from hay and certain horticultural production (sod and nursery) to field crops and fruits, berries and nuts. B.C. had the second largest area

under glass, mostly in large operations. Many sold food products directly to consumers. B.C. also reported the highest rate

of off-farm work and the second highest rate of direct marketing. However, there are also large operations in fruits, berries and nuts,

Fewer than a quarter of B.C. farm operators worked more than 40 hours a week, down from 25.7 per cent five years ago, and the lowest level in the country. The national average is more than a third. But, more than half B.C. farm operators have an off-farm job, down from 52.6 per cent five years ago, but still the highest in Canada. Nationally, 44.4 per cent of farm operators worked off-farm. Across the country, the 2016 ag

census included 193,492 farms, a decrease of 5.9 per cent from the previous census in 2011, the lowest in the past 20 years. However, the average area per farm has increased, from 779 acres in 2011 to an average of 820 acres in 2016.

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