Farmers Forum staff
OTTAWA — Despite supply chain issues, shocking inflation and an infuriating fertilizer tariff , Canadian agriculture continues to look as healthy as ever. Crop farmers are seeing unprecedented input costs but many are still pencilling out a bigger return this year over 2021 as commodity prices rocket to eye-popping heights.
And last year was no slouch. Overall, Canadian farmers are looking at a trend of whopping net income growth in the second year of the pandemic.
The farms of the nation earned 46% more in “realized net income” or profit to hit $13.5 billion in 2021, according to new figures from Statistics Canada.
Last year’s big net income surge followed an even bigger 79.7% profit increase posted in 2020 over 2019. Ontario farmers, however, saw a more modest 11% increase in realized net income last year. That put this province’s farm net-income growth behind Alberta (135%), Manitoba (86%) Saskatchewan (35%) and slightly behind Quebec (11.5%).
Realized net income is the difference between a farmer’s cash receipts and operating expenses, minus depreciation, plus income in kind. Canadian farmers’ bottom lines were bolstered by the biggest rise in gross cash receipts in 40 years.
Farm cash receipts, which include crop and livestock revenues as well as program payments, rose 14.9% to hit $82.8 billion in 2021, the largest year-over-year gain since 1981. It was higher prices for grains, oilseeds and hogs, which still outstripped a rise in the cost of production, that mainly drove the net income increase, Statcan reported.
In another key corresponding measure last year, the Farm Product Price Index rose by 20.3% — its highest single-year increase in 50 years. Profits were also up despite con- cerning expense increases. Operating expenses increased 10.4 % nationally overall last year. Fertilizer costs were up 31.8 % and fuel was up 29 %.