Agriculture in Canada
Food is essential to our survival and provides us with the nutrients we need to grow, be active and stay healthy. It is also our medicine, and brings people together to celebrate, mourn, connect and communicate. In a very real sense, food is a universal language.
We also show love through food and learn about cultures, traditions and history through food. Think of a local holiday or social event and what comes to your mind? Probably some kind of food festival! How do we get all that food? Agriculture, of course.
Canadians are lucky to be one of the few world nations that grow more food than it needs. The rest gets exported to countries worldwide that don't have the same abundance of natural resources we do.
Because our agricultural sector adheres to some of the world’s strictest environmental regulations, Canadian farmers provide an essential source of sustainable, nutritious food for families across our country and around the world. Also see:
- Farming in Canada: The Facts (40 Infographics)
- Natural Gas, Fertilizer & Food Security: Canada's Opportunity
- 'Hay West' Shows What Canadians Can Accomplish Together
Canada's Agricultural Sector...
> Ensures food security and supply chain stability in Canada
> Provides a global food supply at reasonable prices for those in need
> Critical for the livelihoods of Canadian farmers, millions of related jobs, and our economy
> Encourages the mainstreaming of adaptation planning in Canada and elsewhere
> Ensures the agriculture sector in Canada is resilient to climate change
> As the Canadian population and global populations expand, demand for Canadian agricultural products will likely increase.
> As the world increasingly looks to renewable energy, fibre, chemicals and other agricultural products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Canada is uniquely positioned to lead in growth in these areas
Agriculture in Canada: Did You Know...
> World food demand is set to grow 70% by 2050; Canada is one of a privileged few countries in the world that exports more food than it consumes (Michigan State University)
> Canadian agriculture sector takes food safety seriously; Canada ranks #1 in global food safety (GoC)
> Without modern farming practices, we would need 50% more land to grow the amount of food we do today (GoC)
> Canadian farmers love and care for their animals. They believe in responsible animal care and follow nationally recognized codes of practice for the care and handling of their animals
> While grazing on grass, cattle are actually improving the health of the grasslands which are so important for wildlife habitats and maintaining bird migratory patterns.
Learn more about Canadian farmers and our agricultural sector below:
- Farming in Ontario: 26 Facts
- Farming in Manitoba: 27 Facts
- Farming in Alberta: 30 Facts
- Farming in Saskatchewan: 26 Facts
- Bees in Canada: 25 Facts
- 6 Reasons to Support Canadian Beef Farmers
- Agriculture Sector in Canada: By the Numbers
Canadian Agricultural Jobs & Economy
> One-in-eight Canadians work in the agriculture and agri-food sector, employing over 2 million Canadians on farms, in processing plants, boardrooms, laboratories and beyond
> Canada's cattle and beef sector contributes $22 billion to our economy (GDP) annually and supports an estimated 347,000 jobs in Canada
> Canada is the #1 global producer and exporter of canola, which contributes more than $26 billion to the economy each year
> Canada is a top-five wheat exporter, with an average of $7 billion exported annually
> Canada is the world's third-largest exporter of pork, with nearly $4 billion of exports each year
> Without pesticide and plant science innovations, Canadians would have to pay 50% more for fresh veggies and fruit and 30% more for bread
> Agriculture is well-positioned to supplant many products and applications currently based on non-renewables
> Canada’s bio-based economy is larger than our auto industry
Sources: Government of Canada, Agriculture & Agri-Foods Canada, Canadian Cattle Association
Canadian Agriculture Environmental Leadership
Because of their connection to the land, farmers do more to protect and preserve our environment than almost anyone else. They are some of the best environmentalists around.
Canadian agricultural producers are already some of the most sustainable producers in the world with innovations and best practices voluntarily in place on many farms. These include:
> No-till farming
> Nitrogen emission reduction protocols
> Supply chain sustainability schemes
> Environmental Farm Plans to identify environmental risk.
Increases in efficiency and new technology have spurred Canadian agriculture producers to make substantial improvements from an environmental sustainability and productivity standpoint over many decades.
> Between 1981 and 2011, net agricultural GHG emissions in Canada declined by about 10%
> The decline in net GHG emissions over this period is attributable mainly to the change in CO2 emissions from agricultural soils, which went from being a small carbon source in 1981 to a carbon sink by 2011
What are Canadian agricultural producers doing to further mitigate their GHG emissions?
> Improved manure management to reduce direct emissions and produce bioenergy
> Adoption of precision farming techniques to reduce or optimize nitrogen fertilizer use
> Increased production of pulses and other legumes, which require less nitrogen fertilizer due to their ability to fix nitrogen
> Production of biofuels from agricultural by-products to replace higher-emission fuels
> Adoption of management practices such as decreased use of summer fallow and reduced tillage intensity
Canada Action's agriculture advocacy - or “Agvocacy” - promotes public and government support for farmers in the following ways:
> Recognizes the role and accomplishments of farmers in environmental stewardship
> Supports for climate change research and tools to foster resiliency and adaptation
> Ensures continuing competitiveness of Canadian agricultural products in a world market
> Encourages investments that support continuous improvement in sustainable Canadian agricultural production
Agriculture in Canada is an integral part of the Canadian community and economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of families across our nation. With growing global demand for food and agricultural products increasing each year, we must continue to support agriculture sustainability, innovation, and growth in Canada.
Canadian farmers feed not just our families, but the world!
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