Quick – picture a farmer. What images come to mind? We can bet there might be a few that look like that. Our bigger wager would be that you might be surprised to learn who is farming today in Canada.
It’s difficult to describe a “typical” farm/farmer or ranch/rancher in Canada because every one of them is unique. Many of today’s farms have little in common with the images of Old MacDonald that you may remember from the popular children’s song. The important connection across all types of farms and farmers that spans the generations is the care and commitment needed for the animals and the land, 365 days a year.
Have big corporations taken over farm ownership? Absolutely not. More than 97 per cent of Canadian farms remain family-owned and operated, and are often handed down from generation to generation. From the very young to the young at heart, sometimes four generations work together on one farm.
Yes, there are still animals and crops and barns and yes, there are still farmers who look after them. Like every business , we now have more tools and technologies at our disposal which helps us feed more people with less land and water than ever before. Our grandparents couldn’t imagine a smartphone that could help us check the temperature in our barns or know what part of the field needed more fertilizer.
Canadian farming – the big picture
There’s no such thing as a typical Canadian farm. No two farms are the same and farmers from Newfoundland to British Columbia raise many different kinds of livestock and grow a wide range of crops.
Farming is unique. It’s both a business and a way of life. In Canada, agriculture and food is a big deal, providing one in eight jobs, employing 2.1 million people and contributing $103.5 billion to Canada’s economy in 2012 .
A quick snapshot:
• Farming is still a family business – over 97 per cent of Canada’s farms are family owned.
• We’re producing more food per acre on less land, and using less water, fertilizer and other resources to do so. In 1900, one farmer produced enough food for 10 people. Today, that same farmer feeds more than 120 people. The use of new technology and modern, efficient equipment to farm with plays a big role in this.
• Due to the different climate zones across the country, we also grow and raise everything from bison, alpacas and rabbits to lavender, grapes, greenhouse vegetables and hazelnuts.
Click here to meet real farmers: www.facesoffarming.ca
For more interesting farm and food tidbits, check out www.realdirtonfarming.ca