Farming in British Columbia: 15 Facts & Statistics

British Columbia farming facts and statistics

Like other Canadian provinces, British Columbia is home to many farms that grow a wide variety of crops. From fruits to vegetables to aquaculture to fishing to grains to meat, B.C. farmers do it all, playing a significant part in feeding Canadians and the world.

For example, you might not know that B.C. has more than 15,800 farms and is home to the largest proportion of female operators in Canada, representing nearly 40% of all farmers in the province. Employing roughly 33,000 people and generating billions in economic activity, B.C.'s agriculture sector is a vital industry that often doesn't get the recognition it deserves for what it contributes to food security and the livelihoods of Canadians.

Below are several facts on farming in British Columbia that you probably didn't know. Also see:

B.C. Agriculture Facts

#1 - B.C. was home to 15,842 farms and ranches provincewide in 2021, down 9.6% versus 2019 [1]

#2 - B.C. is home to one of the most diverse agriculture, seafood and food processing industries in Canada, exporting more than 500 agrifood products and 169 seafood products domestically and internationally [2]

#3 - B.C. is home to more than 3,000 food and beverage manufacturing operations [3]

#4 - B.C. had 14,826 farm operators in 2021 with the following demographics [1]:

• 39.7% of B.C. farm operators were female

• 2/3 of farm operators were age 55 or older

• Average farm operator age was 57.8, up 2.6% versus 2019

#5 - B.C. had the highest proportion of female farmers in Canada in 2021, with more than 9,300 female operators across the province [1]

#6 - B.C.'s agriculture sector employed 33,000 people in 2021, up by about 8.5% when compared to 2019 [1]

#7 - Agriculture contributes more than $1.7 billion to B.C.'s gross domestic product (GDP) every year [1]

#8 - In 2022, B.C. exported $6.2 billion of agrifood products to markets around the world [3]

#9 - B.C. exported agriculture, seafood and food processing products to 118 international markets in 2022, the top five of whom include [3]:

• United States - $3.9 billion

• China - $344 million

• Japan – $218 million

• South Korea - $135 million

• Hong Kong - $84 million

#10 - About 95% of cherries and 90% of highbush blueberries grown in Canada are proudly grown by farmers in B.C. [3]

#11 - In 2020, the top five vegetable exports from B.C. were mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes [3]

#12 – In 2021, the top 10 commodities in terms of farm cash receipts were dairy, licensed cannabis, chickens, floriculture, greenhouse vegetables, beef, eggs, nursery products, blueberries and grapes [4]

#13 - Farms in B.C. had an annual operating budget of approximately $4 billion in 2021 [1]

#14 - More than 40% of farms reported less than $10,000 in revenue in 2021 [1]

#15 - Total farmland in B.C. dropped 11.8% to nearly 5.65 million acres in 2021 versus 2019 levels [1]

Sustainable Farming in British Columbia

British Columbia's farmers engage in various sustainable initiatives and practices to reduce environmental impacts.

For example, one noteworthy provincial government initiative is the announcement of funding to scale up tech businesses in the province. The initiative, facilitated by Pacific Economic Development Canada, underscores a commitment to enhancing productivity among B.C.'s tech companies, including those developing green innovations for farmers.

Apart from federal sustainable farming initiatives, B.C. is home to many of its own green programs. The province's agricultural community benefits from the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program and many others like it. The EFP educates farmers on how to reduce their environmental impacts. Many EFP participants enjoy increased profitability and new customers due to improving their sustainability and appeal as suppliers.

These are just a few of the many sustainable farming initiatives underway in British Columbia!

Like the rest of Canada's farming families, B.C. farmers are dedicated to feeding the world with the lowest possible environmental footprint. We should be proud!

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