By: Ralph Pearce
March 31, 2020
The agri-food industry has been losing farmers for decades, yet that doesn’t distract most producers from doing the job they do, in spite of what federal Census of Agriculture numbers indicate. The fact is agriculture continues to drive excellence in quality, in volume and in encouraging investment in infrastructure and technology, even if the number of farms and the total acres farmed have dropped since 1996.
It’s true across the country. No province saw an increase in either category between 1996 and 2016, yet agriculture is one of the country’s most important economic industries, with expansion in the use of farm products and increasing demand in human resources. Processors and manufacturers are finding more ways to use what’s being grown in Canada, regardless of declining numbers.
That is particularly true for farming in the Atlantic provinces. Farm acres in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland account for an admittedly small area — a combined 2,397,200 acres (see Table 1 below), according to the 2016 census — but don’t tell producers in the region that their farms don’t make a difference. In terms of self-sufficiency and interest by industry stakeholders, agriculture in the four provinces has never been more important, or more recognized.
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