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Statistics Canada Highlights Ontario Agriculture’s Changing Dynamics From 1991 to 2011

Statistics Canada Highlights Ontario Agriculture’s Changing Dynamics From 1991 to 2011

Ontario Agriculture Undergoing Dramatic Changes Statistics Canada 2011 Census Reports

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It’s probably no surprise that Ontario agriculture has changed since 1991, but the gravity in which these changes have taken place is underestimated until you look at the statistics.

Statistics Canada released information on Monday from its 2011 Census, which highlight some of the changing dynamics happening in Ontario agriculture.

The first shift is relating to the Ontario farmer – 20 years ago (1991), the average age of an Ontario farmer was 48.3, with the average age of a farmer now at 54.5 (2011).

Not only are farmers increasingly getting older, but the loss of farm operators is being lost too. In 1991 Ontario had 100,910 farm operators and in 2011, which is now down to 74,840. With that, the amount of farm land is also declining – in 1991 there were 13.4 million acres being used for farm related purposes and comparatively in 2011 there were 12.9 million acres being farmed.

The following are some other changes that were outlined in the Canadian Agriculture Census:

• Farms are getting bigger. In 1991 there were 727 farms in Ontario that were classified as having 1,120 acres or larger. In 2011 that number has grown to 1,547.
• Orchards are disappearing in Ontario. In 1991 there was 51,007 acres of fruit trees and in 2011 the number is at 28,997 acres.
• There are less cattle, but more chicken, sheep and pigs being raised. The number of cattle (cows and calves) dropped to 1.7 million in 2011 from 2.2 million in 20 years ago. In comparison, sheep and lambs rose to 352,807 from 251,620, while chicken numbers jumped to 46.9 million from 34 million. While pig raising shows a slight rise in numbers.
• More maple trees are being tapped for maple syrup production. In 2011 the number of taps increased by 1.5 million compared to 1991 figures.