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Every day, the food we eat ties us to a wide global web of farmers, dealers, food manufacturers, retailers, and a slew of other people who help bring food from farm to fork. While most of us don’t think about it while eating a piece of fruit or a slice of bread, the global food system is

Canada’s Agriculture Industry

Agriculture is a significant part of the Canadian economy. Agriculture employed 269,000 people in 2018. Farmers, in turn, provide food to the much larger food processing and production businesses (see Agriculture and Food).

Canola, cattle and calves, beef and veal, vegetables, and poultry are among Canada’s main agricultural products. Crops, beef, maple syrup, and a variety of other products are exported by Canadian businesses. Canada is the world’s leading exporter of agricultural products. In 2016, their exports totaled more than $60 billion.

Farms and Farmland

Only 7% of Canada’s land area is suitable for agriculture. The majority of this property is located in Western Canada. Marginal (poor) land, on the other hand, can be used to raise beef cattle. Farms differ in terms of topography, soil type, and location (latitude).

The average size of a Canadian farm has grown throughout time. At the same time, as farmers and corporations grow their businesses by purchasing other farms, the number of Canadian farms has dropped. In 2016, Canada’s census reported 193,492 farms. The average size of a farm in Canada is 800 acres (a little more than 3 km2). Thousands of acres are covered by certain crop farms in Western Canada.

Ontario has the most chicken farms, is second in pig and dairy farms, and has the most cannabis-growing enterprises of any province. In addition, Ontario farmers produce the most corn and apples in the country. Quebec produces the most blueberries in Canada, as well as having the most dairy farms and cows. Crops and animal farming are split evenly in Atlantic Canada (including aquaculture). In this area, potatoes are a popular crop. In Atlantic Canada, there are also a number of big food product firms (see Food and Beverage Industries).

Agriculture in Canada: Challenges and Progress

Farmers in Canada are being pushed to produce more food. They must do so while also looking after their cattle, land, and water. Crop protection, soil conservation, labor, climate change, and health are just a few of the issues that farmers face.

Crop Security

Crop growers use manure, fertilizer, and crop protection products to increase the output of their field crops. Herbicides (for weeds), pesticides (for insects), and fungicides are examples of these products (for fungal diseases). Farmers seek to avoid field runoff and other potentially harmful environmental effects of these products. Industry and government guidelines outline the acceptable rates and circumstances for their use. Farmers also utilize new products that are “greener” and more targeted as they become available.

Conservation of Soil

Crop growers maintain their farms by using soil conservation techniques. Contour ploughing is one example. When heavy rain hits, crop rows that go straight up a slope risk speeding up erosion. These rows can serve as pathways for rains to carry soil down. Ploughing that follows the contours of a slope, on the other hand, results in rows that run perpendicular to the flow of water. These rows will avoid erosion by slowing runoff.



Shortage of workers

More laborers are desperately needed on Canadian farms. Many Canadians dislike working on farms. Most farm work is seasonal, and most Canadians prefer year-round employment. In certain circumstances, Canadians believe that farm work is too difficult or that the pay is too poor. Farms are sometimes placed in isolated places where many people do not want to dwell. As a result, Canadian farmers have been hiring temporary employees from other countries for years. In 2018, Canada’s agriculture employed about 55,000 temporary foreign employees.

 Global Warming

Heat and drought, for example, can harm crops and cattle as a result of climate change. Farming, on the other hand, emits greenhouse gases (for example, from tractors and cattle) that contribute to climate change. Over the previous three decades, Canadian farmers have significantly cut their carbon emissions. However, their entire contribution, which includes other greenhouse gases, has remained constant throughout the twenty-first century.

Human and Animal Health

Over the last two decades, farmers, industry, and governments have collaborated to enhance livestock conditions. Canadian egg farmers, for example, are phasing out the usage of small cages for their hens. Many of these developments have been influenced by changing laws from organisations such as Health Canada. Farmers, business groups, and the government, for example, have adjusted their procedures to limit antibiotic use in recent years. This is due to the fact that the misuse of antibiotics in cattle husbandry poses a risk to human health.

Extensive farming is a type of agriculture that can provide healthy conditions for farm animals while reducing pollution. Crop protection products, labor, and machinery are all used to the bare minimum in extensive farming. Animals on small family farms have more space than those on huge industrial farms where the farming technique is referred to as “intense.” Intensive farming depends significantly on resources to optimize crop yield or animal productivity. It necessitates greater farm investment, but it often requires less area to produce the same amount of food.