Total income of farm families, 2019
The average total income of farm families operating a single farm in Canada was $163,098 in 2019, down 1.3% from 2018, according to taxation records.
Average off-farm income increased 1.1% to $105,032 from 2018 to 2019, while average net operating income declined 5.4% to $58,067. Average net operating income decreased due to a 12.2% decline in average net market income.
The increase in average off-farm income reflected growth in most of its major components. Pension income (+5.7%) rose the most from 2018, followed by investment income (+2.1%) and total other income (+1.7%).
Off-farm income accounted for 64.4% of the total income of farm families in 2019, up from 62.9% in 2018. The average total income of farm families decreased 0.3% to $128,354 in the unincorporated sector in 2019 and declined 3.1% to $242,612 in the incorporated sector.
Farm families in the incorporated sector rely more on investment income and less on pension income than those in the unincorporated sector
The average off-farm income of farm families in the unincorporated sector rose 1.1% to $101,693 in 2019, while the average off-farm income of those in the incorporated sector increased 0.8% to $112,671. Investment income accounted for 17.3% of the off-farm income of families in the incorporated sector and 12.2% for those in the unincorporated sector. Pension income accounted for 18.0% of the off-farm income of families in the unincorporated sector and 10.0% for those in the incorporated sector. Employment income was by far the most important component of off-farm income, representing about two-thirds of off-farm income in both sectors.
Farm families operating dairy and swine farms have the largest growth in average total income
The average total income of farm families operating dairy farms grew 8.4% in 2019. This was followed by families operating hog and pig farms, with an 8.3% gain in average total income. These increases mark a return to 2017 average total income levels.
Higher total income for hog farms reflected increased demand for North American pork exports in the wake of the African swine fever outbreak that reduced domestic supply in China and other East Asian countries in 2019. Despite the import sanction imposed by China in June 2019, Canadian pork producers offset some of their lower exports to China with increased exports to other international markets, including the United States, Japan and Mexico.
Decreases in average total income below the national average decline of 1.3% were posted by families specializing in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production (-8.2%); oilseed and grain farming (-4.3%); poultry and egg production (-3.6%); and other animal production (-2.3%). Exports of grains and oilseeds to China decreased sharply in 2019, amid tense relations between Canada and China and lower feed demand from Asia, where an outbreak of African swine fever reduced herd sizes.
Cattle farms had the lowest average total income, at $123,672 per farm family.
Farm families specializing in fruit and tree nut farming once again have the highest average off-farm income
The average off-farm income of farm families grew for every farm type in 2019 except for greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, and for poultry and egg production. Fruit and tree nut farms once again led the way, with $135,054 per farm family. This was followed by farm families specializing in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production ($121,829), and other animal production ($119,254).
Conversely, the average off-farm income of farm families specializing in beef cattle ranching and farming, vegetable farming, and hog and pig farming fell below the national average of $99,272. The average off-farm income of farm families specializing in dairy production followed well behind, at $68,699.
In 2019, families operating potato (66.8%), dairy cattle (60.9%), and poultry and egg (50.7%) farms derived most of their income from farming activities. Meanwhile, farm families specializing in other crops (19.9%), fruit and tree nuts (17.4%), beef cattle (16.0%), and other animals (8.5%) drew less than one-quarter of their total income from farming activities.
Prairie farm families earn the highest average total income in the country
Farm families in Alberta earned the highest average total income nationally for a second consecutive year in 2019. However, their average total income was down 2.7% to $172,721. Saskatchewan farm families remained in second place, at $170,052, down 3.1% from 2018. In these two provinces, the decline in average net market income offset increases in average net program payments and average off-farm income.
Farm families in Manitoba posted the second-largest decrease in average total income in 2019, down 8.3% to $154,873. The decline was mostly attributable to decreases in hog and pig (-19.2%), potato (-13.3%), and grain and oilseed (-13.6%) farming.
The average total income of farm families increased in New Brunswick (+5.2%), Ontario (+2.9%) and Quebec (+2.2%).
British Columbia farm families maintain the highest average off-farm income
Farm families in British Columbia posted the highest average off-farm income nationally in 2019, at $127,122. Alberta farm families were in second place, with $115,254, while Ontario farm families fell slightly behind, with $114,909. In all other provinces, average off-farm income was below the national average of $105,032.
The average off-farm income of farm families grew in every province except British Columbia (-11.2%), Nova Scotia (-1.9%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.2%) in 2019.
Note to readers
The estimates cover farm families involved in a single farm that is either unincorporated with total operating revenues of $10,000 or more, or incorporated with total operating revenues of $25,000 or more.
The Agriculture Taxation Data Program (ATDP) underwent a redesign for reference year 2015. Because of the changes implemented, data users are advised to use caution when comparing 2015 to 2019 data with data from the previous years.
Note that not all farm family income earned from a farming operation is net operating income. Income reported as wages and salaries may have come from the farm. However, the investment income has been adjusted to exclude the actual amount of dividends received by families from taxable Canadian farming corporations.
For statistical purposes, farm families who hold an interest in a partnership that has filed a T5013 Partnership Information Return are included in the incorporated sector, starting with reference year 2017. Prior to 2017, all farm families who were members of a partnership were included in the unincorporated sector.
Farm families may include more than one operator. An ATDP operator is a person who reports revenue on their individual tax form as a result of a financial stake of an ATDP farm operation. The financial stake may be direct in the case of an unincorporated farm (typically T1) or indirect through shares for an incorporated farm (typically T2).
In this release, average always refers to average per farm family. Table 32-10-0213-01 also presents averages per farm family reporting.
For more information on farm family income components, see "Description of farm family income components."
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