- April, 2011
Since 1970 realized net farm income in Canada has remained virtually unchanged, while the value of farm products has steadily increased. The cost of production has risen dramatically, and thus farmers have taken on more and more debt in order to stay in business. Nearly all of the gain in value of farm products has been paid out to input suppliers, leaving little for the farmers families to live on. The current agriculture policies are not working for farmers.
- April, 2011
Canada’s agriculture economy has become focused on trade. Exports are nearly four times what they were in 1988 when the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement was signed. The amount of food imported into Canada has increased nearly as fast. But the realized net farm income of farmers has actually dropped during this same time period. The current trade-oriented agriculture policies are not the answer to the farm income crisis.
- May, 2011
In this report you will find relevant information that illustrates the current and emerging situation of Ontario farms and farmers by way of a series of graphs accompanied by brief explanations. The first part of the paper puts Ontario agriculture into the context of Canada as a whole. The next section provides information about farm numbers, farm sizes and types, and numbers of farmers. The report then looks at trade and processing numbers. The last section examines gross revenues, expenses, farm-gate and retail food prices, incomes from the markets, program payments and off-farm jobs, and finally farm debt.
This paper does not propose specific solutions, but is meant instead to provide food for thought by offering a high level overview of the situation Ontario from the perspective of the most up-to-date statistics available. Some of what you read may reflect your own experience very closely – other information may be surprising and lead to ideas for further research. We invite you to discuss what you encounter in this report and to consider how today’s situation is linked to federal and provincial agriculture policies and trade policies, both past and present.