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Total income of farm families, 2013

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Released: 2016-01-15

Average total income of farm families operating a single unincorporated farm in Canada rose 6.2% from 2011 to $117,388 in 2013, according to data from personal income tax returns.

The overall growth reflects increases in both average income from off-farm sources (+7.7%) and average net operating income (+1.3%). The rise in average off-farm income was largely driven by increases in labour income, investment income and pension income. Off-farm income accounted for 76.7% of the total income of farm families, up from 75.6% in 2011.

Farm families specialized in potato farming (+20.4%) and in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production (+14.6%) reported the largest gains in average total income.

By contrast, farm families primarily engaged in dairy cattle and milk production (-1.3%) or in poultry and egg production (-1.0%) saw their average total income edge down as a result of lower average net operating income. These families ranked third and second respectively in terms of average total income, behind families specialized in oilseed and grain farming who earned on average $136,959.

Average total income of families running a hog and pig farm was virtually unchanged as the decline in average net operating income offset the increase in average off-farm income.

Average total income of farm families increased in every province in 2013, with British Columbia (+11.9%) leading the way, followed closely by Nova Scotia (+11.8%) and Alberta (+11.4%). Alberta's farm families were, on average, the only ones whose average total income ($143,041) surpassed the national average.

  Note to readers

The Agriculture Taxation Data Program uses taxation records to produce data on total income of farm families. Data cover farm families operating a single unincorporated farm with gross operating revenues of $10,000 or more.

An estimated 101,950 farm families in Canada operated a single unincorporated farm with at least $10,000 in gross farm operating revenues in 2013, according to taxation records. These families operated 99,700 farms—56.5% of all farms. These farms generated $16.3 billion in total farm operating revenues—23.7% of the total farm operating revenues generated by all farms.

The average total income corresponds to the sum of average off-farm income (wages and salaries, net off-farm self-employment income, investment income, pension income, government social transfers [excluding pension amounts] and other off-farm income) and average net operating income (total operating revenues less total operating expenses).


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