2015 will be another money-making year for Canadian farmers, federal forecast says
By Tom Collins
OTTAWA Canadian farmers had a fantastic 2014. And the money keeps coming.
The Western Producer says “Canadian farmers are making money hand over fist.” Average net farm operating income or simply profit was projected to hit an all-time high last year at $78,139.
Farmers overall will continue to make the big bucks this year but should expect to make less money while paying more for programs and expenses, according to the 2015 Canadian Agricultural Outlook, released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada last month. In fact, the average Canadian farm will still earn more profit this year than the five-year average.
Ontario farmers are also doing well. Last year they earned a projected average net operating income of $62,458 the highest ever since StatCan started keeping track of the numbers in 1993. But that is expected to drop to $58,451 this year, still the third best year ever for profit on Ontario farms.
Total farm receipts will also increase slightly this year from $364,074 to $364,766. But farm expenses, including wages, eat a big chuck of revenues and are expected to rise two per cent from $310,203 per farm in 2014 to $315,612 in 2015, while program payments will rise seven per cent from $307.3 million in 2014 to $328.4 million in 2015.
Total Ontario farm family income (which includes off-farm income) is also expected to rise three per cent from $125,613 in 2014 to $129,111 in 2015. The main reason is a five per cent rise in off-farm family income, Agriculture Canada forecasts.
Lower oil prices and the weaker Canadian dollar have generally been good to the Canadian farmer. Heres the forecast by sector:
Grains and oilseeds: While “grain and oilseed prices declined following an unprecedented U.S. corn and soybean harvest, Canadian sales volumes remained strong, partially offsetting these factors.” Going forward, “global prices for grains and oilseeds are projected to increase over the medium term.”
Cattle producers: Cattle earnings will remain strong due to tight supply this year. “Cattle producers, who normally operate on relatively low margins, will see record profits as live animal prices remain at high levels and feed grain prices continue to be soft.”
Hog producers: Following last years “income surge” for hog producers, the “increased availability of slaughter hogs in North America in 2015, and its effect on prices, will lead incomes to return to long term average levels.”
Dairy and poultry: Not surprisingly, supply management is agricultures steady Eddy sector that continues to be strong year in and year out. “Incomes in the dairy and poultry sectors will remain at high levels compared to other sectors and will not show significant growth.”
Horticulture: Stable receipts overall. “Lower apple, cranberry and grape receipts will be offset by stronger blueberry sales in 2014. The story shows little change for 2015 for most horticulture crops, with some growth in greenhouse receipts over the two years.”