Use these Canadian ag stats to support your story
The numbers are in. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada recently released its Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System for 2017. We’ve combed through it to highlight some key industry facts to consider using as you agvocate this winter.
Fewer, larger farms
Fact: The number of Canadian farms has been declining since 1941, while the average farm size has been steadily increasing.
Why this is important: Fewer farms could be perceived as an industry in decline, which we all know is not the case. Larger farms can fuel a misconception that they are not operating in the best interest of consumers.
Agvocate message: Canadian farms are getting larger. Yet 97% of these farms continue to be owned and operated by farm families. The truth is that it takes both small and large farms to sustain a thriving ag industry and provide an abundance of safe, healthy, and affordable food for Canadians and the world.
More efficient farms
Fact: Using the same amount of inputs, the average farm in 2011 could produce twice as much as in 1961.
Why this is important: While it might be obvious to us that we’re on an eternal quest to produce more with less, there are some misconceptions in the public that the way we farmed decades ago is better for the planet or consumers.
Agvocate message: Canadian ag continues to improve the way it produces food by embracing new practices and technologies to reduce its impact on the environment and improve animal well-being. At the same time, we’ve increased the amount of food produced. These efficiencies are passed along to the consumer in the form of lower food costs, increased selection in the grocery store and food they can trust to be safe and sustainable.
Fact: The average age of the Canadian farmer is increasing. In 2016, 54% of Canadian farm operators were 55 and older.
Why this is important: This fact can fuel the misconception that Canadian agriculture is stagnant, or that young people aren’t interested in farming careers. Again, we know the opposite to be true.
Agvocate message: Farmers truly love what they do. It’s hard work, yes, but a lifestyle that runs deep in their veins. When you love what you do this much, you keep doing it past the traditional age of retirement. As well, young people continue to pursue farming careers.
No matter who you’re talking to, it’s important to listen, be transparent and use facts to support your conversation and provide additional context. Keeping these points in mind and including them in your conversation is an easy way to dispel some common myths, earn trust and provide a better understanding of our industry.
Thanks for continuing to be a positive voice for Canadian agriculture and food.
The Ag More Than Ever Team