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Farm Environmental Management Survey, 2011

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Released: 2013-10-09

In 2011, 35% of Canadian farms had a formal environmental farm plan (EFP). Of the farms with a formal EFP, almost all (95%) had either fully or partially implemented the beneficial management practices recommended in their EFP.

An EFP is a voluntarily prepared document that lists the agri-environmental risks on a farm such as soil erosion, water contamination or pesticide drift, and details the beneficial management practices that should be put in place to mitigate those risks. There are beneficial management practices for a wide variety of agri-environmental risks such as pesticide storage and use, fertilizer storage and use, grazing and surface water management.

In Quebec and the Atlantic region, there were more farms with an EFP than farms without one. Just over 7 out of 10 Quebec farms had a formal EFP. In contrast, fewer than 3 out of 10 farms in Western Canada had a formal EFP.

Pesticides are used by farmers to protect their crops from pests. Herbicides are used to combat weeds, insecticides are used to protect crops from insects and fungicides are used to prevent the growth of fungus on crops. These chemicals can pose environmental and health risks if not properly managed.

In 2011, approximately 70% of Canadian crop farms reported applying herbicides. However, over three-quarters of crop farms in Canada did not apply either insecticides (85%) or fungicides (77%) to their crops.

Many farms in Canada have some form of surface water. It is important to manage this surface water carefully because the quality of this water can be affected by agricultural activities.

Permanent wetlands have water present year-round and can include small lakes, marshes and dugouts. Seasonal wetlands normally have water present until late summer or early fall and are generally too wet to plant crops. Waterways are channels that contain flowing water for at least part of the year, and can include streams and drainage ditches.

More than one quarter of Canadian farms reported having permanent wetlands on their operations. In 2011, 3 out of 10 Canadian farms reported having seasonal wetlands on their operation and 4 out of 10 reported having waterways on their land.

  Note to readers

The 2011 Farm Environmental Management Survey was conducted to gather information about farming practices on Canadian crop and livestock operations. The survey focused on information related to manure spreading, pesticide application, grazing and the implementation of environmental farm plans over the 2011 calendar year. This survey contributes to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's work on measuring environmental performance in the agricultural sector.

The publication Farm Environmental Management – Survey Report, 2011 (Catalogue number21-023-X), is now available. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Environment.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Avani Babooram (613-951-3869;, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.

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