OTTAWA — The newly released 2021 Census of Agriculture counted 189,874 farms in Canada, down 1.9% from the 193,492 farms of five years earlier. Still, the decline in farm numbers has slowed. Statistics Canada measured a 5.9% drop in farm numbers in the 2016 Census, when compared with 2011.
Data from the Census of Agriculture indicate that trends identified in previous census cycles, such as industry consolidation and aging of farm operators, have continued in 2021, according to StatCan.
While farms in Canada reported a 3.2% decrease in total farm area from 2016, the total area for hay and field crops increased slightly, by 0.3%, to 92.9 million acres in 2021. The number of head reported for major livestock categories has also increased modestly since 2016.
Farms classified as oilseed and grain continue to make up the largest proportion of farms in Canada. In 2021, there were 65,135 oilseed and grain farms, accounting for 34.3% of total farms. This was followed by beef and feedlots (20.9%). Meanwhile, 82.7% of total farm area was accounted for by these two sectors — totalling 127.1 million acres.