More larger farms in Newfoundland and Labrador

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According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture in Newfoundland and Labrador the number of farms with $500,000 or more (at 2010 constant prices) of 2010 gross farm receipts increased by 4.3% between censuses, and those with less than $500,000 declined by 9.8%. There were 48 of these larger farms in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011, and while they represented 9.4% of all farms in the province, they accounted for 80.4% of total provincial gross farm receipts reported for the year 2010.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s gross farm receipts in 2010, the year prior to the census, increased 11.5% (at 2010 constant prices) to $137.6 million, from 2005. At the national level there was a 3.9% increase in gross farm receipts between 2005 and 2010.

Operators spent an average of 86 cents in expenses (excluding depreciation) for every dollar of receipts in 2010, the same as in 2005.

Farm numbers decreased

The 2011 Census of Agriculture counted 510 census farms in Newfoundland and Labrador, an 8.6% decrease since 2006. This compares to a 10.3% decrease at the national level. A census farm is an agricultural operation that produces agricultural products intended for sale.

Farm operators

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 665 farm operators in 2011, 6.3% lower than in 2006, following the trend in the number of farms. In 2011, 23.3% of Newfoundland and Labrador farm operators were women while nationally this percentage was 27.4%.

The average age of a farm operator in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011 was 55.0 years compared with 52.3 years in 2006. Nationally the average age of a farm operator in 2011 was 54.0 years, up from 52.0 years in 2006.

In 2010, 43.6% of all Newfoundland and Labrador farm operators worked more than 40 hours a week on average on their farm operations, compared to 51.4% five years earlier. At the national level this percentage was 40.1% in 2010.

In 2010, 46.6% of all Newfoundland and Labrador farm operators had an off-farm job or business compared to 45.1% in 2005. At the national level the comparable percentage was 46.9% in 2010.

According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture, 21.4% of Newfoundland and Labrador operators who were under the age of 35 on census day worked off the farm for more than 40 hours a week on average in 2010, compared to 27.9% of operators aged 35 to 54, and 13.7% of operators over 55 years of age.

Farm area

Total farm area in Newfoundland and Labrador decreased 13.5% between 2006 and 2011 to 77,349 acres. Farms in Newfoundland and Labrador averaged 152 acres in 2011, down from 160 acres five years earlier.

Of the total farm area in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011, 26.7% was cropland. Farmers reported 20,618 acres of cropland in 2011, down 9.1% from 2006. Cropland is the total area used in hay, field crops, fruits, field vegetables, sod and nursery.

Proportion of cropland, Newfoundland and Labrador, 2006 and 2011
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of cropland. The information is grouped by Composition of cropland (appearing as row headers), Percent of cropland* (appearing as column headers).
Composition of cropland Percent of croplandNote *
2011 2006
Field crops 7.9 12.6
Hay 76.2 69.8
Fruits 6.9 9.7
Sod and Nursery 4.6 3.2
Vegetables 4.3 4.7

The majority of cropland (84.1%) was reported as hay and field crops (Table 1). The proportion of hay increased from 69.8% in 2006 to 76.2% in 2011. Field crops represented 7.9% of cropland in 2011, down from 12.6% in 2006. The decrease in field crops area was mainly due to the decrease in corn for silage from 1,698 acres in 2006 to 803 in 2011. Total fruit area accounted for another 6.9% of the province’s cropland and vegetables for 4.3% in 2011.

Total fruit area decreased 35.3%, from 2,204 acres in 2006 to 1,426 acres in 2011. The largest fruit areas in Newfoundland and Labrador were blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.

Total field vegetable area decreased 17.0%, from 1,067 acres in 2006 to 886 acres in 2011. The largest vegetable crop areas in Newfoundland and Labrador were rutabagas and turnips, carrots, and cabbage.

Pasture land (tame or seeded pasture and natural land for pasture), accounted for about a third of total farm area in Newfoundland and Labrador. Pasture land decreased 19.2% from 31,222 acres in 2006 to 25,240 in 2011.

Other agricultural highlights in Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Cranberry area increased 850.0% to 190 acres in 2011, up from 20 acres in 2006.
  • Blueberry area decreased 44.6% to 1,062 acres in 2011, down from 1,918 acres in 2006. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province in Atlantic Canada to see a decrease in blueberry area from 2006.
  • Strawberry area decreased by 27.8% to 114 acres in 2011, down from 158 acres in 2006.
  • Sod area increased 28.6% since 2006 to 845 acres in 2011 and nursery area increased 48.6% to 110 acres.
  • Rutabaga and turnip area decreased 25.8% since 2006 to 253 acres in 2011.
  • The total number of dairy cows in the province decreased 1.7% since 2006 to 6,153 head in 2011.
  • There were 72,870 mink breeding stock reported in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011.
  • The number of sheep in the province decreased 47.2% since 2006 to 2,449 head in 2011.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, no-till methods were used on 4.5% of the land prepared for seeding in 2011, down from 5.7% in 2006. Conventional tillage decreased to 85.7% of land prepared for seeding, from 88.3% five years earlier. Conservation tillage was used on 9.8% of the land prepared for seeding, compared to 6.0% in 2006.
  • There were five farms with certified organic and/or transitional production in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • High-speed internet access was reported by 45.3% of the province's farms, slightly above the national average of 44.8%.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador 51.8% of all farms in the province reported paid labour for the year 2010. The census counted 1,395 paid employees, of whom 33.4% worked year-round in a full or part-time capacity while 66.6% were seasonal or temporary employees.

A snapshot in time

The 2011 Census of Agriculture is the most recent measure of the overall state of Canadian agriculture and its wealth of data provides a valuable snapshot of the sector. The census program provides a data continuum stretching back to 1921, while agricultural data has been collected since the first Census of Canada in 1871.

Since the previous Census of Agriculture in 2006, fluctuating commodity prices in certain sectors as well as changing costs of fertilizers, fuel, seed and livestock feed affected the farming community. The residual effects of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and avian influenza were also issues.

However, many changes have since ensued, including favourable commodity prices in some sectors as well as continued evolution in global economic conditions, and some of these factors have benefited the Canadian agricultural sector. At the same time, many farm operators continue to adapt their production and farming practices to become more efficient and to respond to market factors and consumer demands.

These developments, as well as the dynamic and complex nature of the Canadian agricultural industry, are an important reminder that the Census is a snapshot of the agricultural sector that captures its state at a point in time, and does not measure the annual fluctuations between census years.

Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of Newfoundland and Labrador for their participation and assistance in the 2011 Census of Agriculture.

For further information regarding the Census of Agriculture, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre at 613-951-8116 or toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Rosemary Villani at 613-951-2889, Census of Agriculture, Agriculture Division.


Census farm

An operation is considered a census farm (agricultural operation) if it produces at least one of the following products intended for sale:

  • Crops: Hay, field crops, tree fruits or nuts, berries or grapes, vegetables, seed
  • Livestock: Cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, game animals, other livestock
  • Poultry: Hens, chickens, turkeys, chicks, game birds, other poultry
  • Animal products: Milk or cream, eggs, wool, furs, meat
  • Other agricultural products: Christmas trees, sod, greenhouse, or nursery products, mushrooms, honey or bees, maple syrup and its products

The data for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories are not included in the national totals because of the different definition of an agricultural operation in the territories and confidentiality constraints. The data for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories are presented separately.

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Certified organic

An operation or products are referred to as "certified organic" when certification has taken place. Certification refers to the procedure whereby a certification body accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides written assurance that products and production systems conform to specified requirements. Certification may be based on a range of inspection activities including verification of management practices, auditing of quality assurance systems and in/out production balances. (Source: Canada Organic Office Operating Manual)

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Transitional organic

Transitional organic refers to those who were in the process of undertaking the three-year process of having all or part of their operations certified organic at the time of the 2011 Census of Agriculture.

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Gross farm receipts

The Census of Agriculture measures gross farm receipts for the calendar or accounting year prior to the census.

Gross farm receipts (before deducting expenses) in this analysis include:

  • receipts from all agricultural products sold
  • program payments and custom work receipts.

The following are not included in gross farm receipts:

  • sales of forestry products (for example: firewood, pulpwood, logs, fence posts and pilings)
  • sales of capital items (for example: quota, land, machinery)
  • receipts from the sale of any goods purchased only for retail sales.

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2005 to 2010

Some data refer to a reference period other than Census Day. For example, for financial data the reference period is the calendar or accounting (fiscal) year prior to the census.

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Farm type

Farm type is established through a procedure that classifies each census farm according to the predominant type of production. This is done by estimating the potential receipts from the inventories of crops and livestock reported on the questionnaire and determining the product or group of products that make up the majority of the estimated receipts. For example, a census farm with total potential receipts of 60% from hogs, 20% from beef cattle and 20% from wheat, would be classified as a hog and pig farm. The farm types presented in this document are derived based on the 2007 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The chart below shows how these derived farm types relate to NAICS.

Table summary
This table displays the results of Farm Type.
The information is grouped by Census of Agriculture derived categories appearing as row headers, and NAICS five-digit classes appearing as column headers.
Census of Agriculture derived categories NAICS five-digit classes
Dairy Dairy cattle and milk production 
Beef Beef cattle ranching and farming, including feedlots
Hog and pig Hog and pig farming
Poultry and egg Chicken egg production 
Broiler and other meat-type chicken production
Turkey production
Poultry hatcheries
Combination poultry and egg production
All other poultry production 
Sheep and goat Sheep farming
Goat farming
Other animal Apiculture
Horse and other equine production
Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production
Animal combination farming
All other miscellaneous animal production
Oilseed and grain Soybean farming
Oilseed (except soybean) farming
Dry pea and bean farming
Wheat farming
Corn farming
Other grain farming
Vegetable and melon Potato farming
Other vegetable (except potato) and melon farming
Fruit and tree-nut Fruit and tree nut farming
Greenhouse and nursery Mushroom production
Other food crops grown under cover
Nursery and tree production
Floriculture production
Other crop Tobacco farming
Hay farming
Fruit and vegetable combination farming
Maple syrup and products production
All other miscellaneous crop farming

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Farm operator

According to the census, a farm operator is any person responsible for the management decisions made for an agricultural operation as of May 10, 2011.

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