Did you know that farming and aquaculture have both played an enormous role in the history and economic development of Nova Scotia?!
Since the earliest days, the Mi'kmaq First Nation communities have practiced aquaculture in the Atlantic province. Today, Nova Scotia's aquaculture sector is thriving, with more than $90 million in production in 2021. The province provides high-quality fish and seafood products to more than 80 countries, exporting $2.4 billion worth of products that same year.
Nova Scotia's farming sector also contributes significantly to jobs and prosperity while helping feed the world. Although the province accounts for just 1.4 per cent of Canadian farms, it is home to 14 per cent of Canada's total fruit harvesting area and 6 per cent of fruit production. In 2021, Nova Scotia exported $403 million of agri-food products to more than 165 countries, with over 2,000 businesses and approximately 12,000 jobs directly linked to the industry.
Nova Scotia's aquaculture and farming sectors are also leaders in environmentally conscious practices that aim to benefit people and the planet. Nova Scotians take tremendous pride in the natural resources that help support their local families, economies and governments, so let's champion them for the leaders that they are!
We've compiled a list of 25 fun and interesting facts on farming and aquaculture in Nova Scotia. Check them out below, and also see:
- Farming in Canada: The Facts (35 Infographics)
- Where Does Your Turkey Dinner Come From?
- Farming in Saskatchewan: 26 Facts
- Farming in Alberta: 30 Facts
- Farming in Manitoba: 27 Facts
25 Facts on Farming & Aquaculture in Nova Scotia
#1 - Nova Scotia reported 2,741 farms in 2021, representing 1.4% of the national total.1
#2 - In 2021, Nova Scotia’s farm cash receipts totalled $671,799,000.2
#3 - In 2021, Nova Scotia exported $403 million of agri-food products to more than 165 countries.3
#4 - Nova Scotia's agri-food sector has over 2,000 businesses and approximately 12,000 jobs directly linked to the industry.3
#5 - In 2021, Nova Scotia corn production had an estimated on-farm value of $3.8 billion.4
#6 - In 2021, the 37,200 acres devoted to grain production produced 131,450 tonnes and the 40,200 acres in silage provided an estimated 578,082 tonnes of silage in Nova Scotia.4
#7 - In 2020, Nova Scotia produced 53,140 metric tons of fruit.5
#8 - As of 2020, Nova Scotia was home to 14% of Canada's total fruit harvesting area and 6% of its fruit production.5
#9 - Nova Scotia farmers produce more than 50 million pounds of wild blueberries every year, accounting for 25.5% of Canada's total blueberry exports annually.6
#10 - Nova Scotia reported 4,924 acres of apples in 2021, the fourth largest apple acreage by province in Canada.7
#11 - Nova Scotia is home to 20+ wineries, most of which are concentrated in the Annapolis valley area.8
#12 - As of 2021, there were approximately 500 beekeepers operating in Nova Scotia with roughly 25,000 honeybee hives.9
#13 - Livestock and livestock products made up 58% of Nova Scotia's farm cash receipts in 2021.2
#14 - The most recent data shows that Nova Scotia has about 93 hog farms that raise about 220,000 hogs yearly.10
#15 - As of 2022, there were roughly 15,700 sheep and lambs across Nova Scotia.11
#16 - Nova Scotia was responsible for 3.3% of chicken production and 2.2% of Turkey production in Canada as of 2021.12
#17 - As of 2022, there were approximately 69,700 cattle in the province of Nova Scotia.13
#18 - There were more than 200 dairy farms in Nova Scotia, with an average of 80 cows per farm as of 2020.14
#19 - Between 2020 to 2021, fishing and aquaculture employed roughly 18,000 people in Nova Scotia and thousands more through indirect employment.15
#20 - In 2020, Nova Scotia's aquaculture sector farmed 12,639,075 kg of seafood.16
#21 - Aquaculture was first practiced in Nova Scotia by the Mi'kmaq First Nation communities. They transferred fish from one body of water to another to increase populations.17
#22 - In 2021, Nova Scotia exported $2.4 billion in fish and seafood products to more than 80 countries.18
#23 - Nova Scotia's seafood industry includes 178 processing companies that provide access to more than 50 species.18
#24 - In 2019, more than 51,000 tonnes of lobster were landed in Nova Scotia, representing 49% of Canadian production.19
#25 - Canadian lobster exports reached $3.26 billion in 2021, beating the previous record set in 2019 by more than 25%. 20
Sustainable Farming & Aquaculture in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia's aquaculture and agriculture sectors have seen beneficial cooperation between public and private parties to improve sustainable, profitable, competitive and innovative practices.
A great example is The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program through the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, which identifies areas of potential environmental risk and provides solutions to farmers. In 2020, approximately 70 per cent of farms in Nova Scotia had an active EFP.
Nova Scotian aquaculture is also a leader in sustainability standards. The province's Environmental Monitoring Program was created in collaboration with the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, and Dalhousie University, establishing targets for environmental standards of biological performance and processes.
Without question, Canadians from coast-to-coast are committed to sustainable resource devolvement, which we all can be proud of. So the next time you're enjoying some Nova Scotian lobster or blueberries, make sure to appreciate all the hard work that got them to your kitchen counter in the first place!
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1 - Government of Nova Scotia. Census of Agriculture, 2021. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from https://novascotia.ca/finance/statistics/archive_news.asp?id=17790&dg=&df=&dto=0&dti=3
2 - Stats Canada. Farm cash receipts, annual (x 1,000) Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3210004501&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.4&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2017&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2021&referencePeriods=20170101%2C20210101)
3 - Nova Scotia Business Inc. Agrifood - There's always something in season. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.novascotiabusiness.com/sites/default/files/Agrifood_snapshot_digital.pdf)
4 - Atlantic Grains Council. Corn. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://atlanticgrainscouncil.ca/newwp/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Corn-Profile-2021.pdf)
5 - Government of Canada. Statistical Overview of the Canadian Fruit Industry 2020. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/canadas-agriculture-sectors/horticulture/horticulture-sector-reports/statistical-overview-canadian-fruit-industry-2020)
6 - Nova Scotia Business Inc. Producing high-quality food and beverages. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.novascotiabusiness.com/business/agri-food)
7 - Stats Canada. Lowbush blueberries, apples, mink and poultry play a large role in Nova Scotia farming. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/96-325-x/2021001/article/00003-eng.htm)
8 - Visit Nova Scotia Wineries. Nova Scotia Wineries. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.visitnovascotiawineries.com)
9 - Nova Scotia Beekeepers' Association. Strategic Plan FY 2021‐2026. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://nsbeekeepers.ca/cmsAdmin/uploads/nsba-strategic-plan-2021-2026.pdf)
10 - Pork Nova Scotia. Agriculture in Nova Scotia. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://porknovascotia.ca/agriculture-in-nova-scotia/)
11 - Stats Canada. Number of sheep and lambs on farms (x 1,000). Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3210012901&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.4&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2018&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2022&referencePeriods=20180101%2C20220101)
12 - Stats Canada. Shares of poultry production by province, 2021. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220606/cg-f003-eng.htm)
13 - Stats Canada. Number of cattle, by class and farm type (x 1,000). Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3210013001&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.4&pickMembers%5B1%5D=2.1&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2018&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2022&referencePeriods=20180101%2C20220101)
14 - Perennia. Dairy. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.perennia.ca/portfolio-items/dairy/)
15 - Government of Nova Scotia. Accountability Report 2020–21 Fisheries and Aquaculture. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://novascotia.ca/government/accountability/2020-2021/accountability-report-2020-2021-department-fisheries-aquaculture.pdf)
16 - Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture. Aquaculture Production and Sales. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://novascotia.ca/fish/documents/aqua-stats/2020Production.pdf)
17 - Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia. First Nations Communities. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://seafarmers.ca/community-hub/first-nations-communities/#:~:text=Aquaculture%20in%20Nova%20Scotia%20was,and%20dependable%20source%20of%20revenue)
18 - Nova Scotia Business Inc. Canada's #1 Seafood Exporter. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.novascotiabusiness.com/business/seafood#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20Nova%20Scotia%20exported,%2C%20Europe%2C%20and%20North%20America)
19 - Campbell, F. SaltWire. 'Highest quality' lobster a priority to sustain Nova Scotia's lucrative export market. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/news/highest-quality-lobster-a-priority-to-sustain-nova-scotias-lucrative-export-market-100603169/)
20 - Bundale, B. Global News. 'Our lobsters are gold plated now': Atlantic Canada lobster exports, prices soar. Accessed July 21, 2022. Retrieved from (https://globalnews.ca/news/8749678/our-lobsters-are-gold-plated-now-atlantic-canada-lobster-exports-prices-soar/)
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