Prince Edward Island continued to lead in potato area

Skip to text

Text begins

In 2011, Prince Edward Island continued to report the largest area of potatoes in the country with 86,560 acres. However, the area decreased by 11.3% since 2006.

Soybean area in Prince Edward Island increased 351.6% since 2006 to 51,116 acres in 2011, making it one of the major field crops in the province. Prince Edward Island accounted for 72.5% of the Maritime province's total in 2011. In the Maritimes, soybean area increased 352.8% since 2006 to 70,492 acres in 2011.

Blueberry area increased

Blueberry area increased 25.5% in Prince Edward Island to 12,304 acres in 2011, up from 9,803 acres in 2006. In Atlantic Canada, only New Brunswick had a higher percentage increase in blueberry area from 2006 to 2011.

Gross farm receipts decreased

Prince Edward Island’s gross farm receipts in 2010, the year prior to the census, decreased 14.6% (2010 constant prices) to $447.4 million, from 2005. Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick were the only provinces to report a decrease in gross farm receipts.

Operators spent an average of 85 cents in expenses (excluding depreciation) for every dollar of receipts in 2010, about four cents less than they spent in 2005.

Potato farm and dairy farm types accounted for 56.9% and 18.0% of 2010 gross farm receipts, respectively. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) provides a framework for classifying farms based on the commodities they produce and the value of these commodities. The farm types presented in this document are derived based on this system.

Farm numbers decreased

The 2011 Census of Agriculture counted 1,495 census farms in Prince Edward Island, a 12.1% 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

Prince Edward Island reported 2,045 farm operators, 12.2% lower than in 2006, following the trend in the number of farms. In 2011, 17.1% of Prince Edward Island farm operators were women, while nationally this percentage was 27.4%.

The average age of a farm operator in Prince Edward Island in 2011 was 54.2 years compared with 51.4 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, 47.4% of all Prince Edward Island farm operators worked more than 40 hours a week on average on their farm operations, compared to 57.5% five years earlier. At the national level this percentage was 40.1% in 2010.

In 2010, 42.8% of all Prince Edward Island farm operators had an off-farm job or business compared to 43.3% in 2005. At the national level, this percentage was 46.9% in 2010.

According to the Census of Agriculture, 22.5% of Prince Edward Island 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 19.3% of operators aged 35 to 54, and 11.4% of operators over 55 years of age.

Farm area

Total farm area in Prince Edward Island decreased 4.1% between 2006 and 2011 to 594,324 acres.

Despite the decrease in total farm area, average area per farm increased. Farms in Prince Edward Island averaged 398 acres in 2011, up from 365 acres five years earlier.

Of the total farm area in Prince Edward Island in 2011, 69.1% was cropland. Farm operators reported 410,712 acres of cropland in 2011, down from 423,281 acres in 2006. Cropland is the total area reported in field crops, hay, fruits, field vegetables, sod and nursery.

Proportion of cropland, Prince Edward Island, 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 65.0 59.7
Hay 31.2 37.2
Fruits 3.1 2.4
Vegetables 0.6 0.6
Sod and Nursery 0.1 0.0

In 2011 the majority of cropland (96.2%) in Prince Edward Island was reported as field crops and hay (Table 1). The proportion of field crops (including potatoes) increased from 59.7% in 2006 to 65.0% in 2011. Conversely, the proportion of hay decreased from 37.2% to 31.2%. Increased prices for cash crops coupled with declining beef cattle and pig numbers led to a shift from forages and crops traditionally used for feed to more profitable cash crops. Other crops, including vegetables, fruit, sod and nursery production, accounted for an additional 3.8% of total cropland, an increase from 3.0% in 2006.


The number of dairy cows in the province increased 0.2% since 2006 to 13,128 head in 2011. The number of beef cattle reported for breeding purposes (beef cows and beef heifers) decreased by 34.3% since 2006, totalling 11,771 head in 2011.

The number of pigs in Prince Edward Island decreased 56.5% since 2006. Prince Edward Island reported 53,649 pigs in 2011, making it the second largest pig herd in Atlantic Canada behind New Brunswick.

The sheep flock in Prince Edward Island increased 104.0% since 2006 to 7,959 in 2011.

Organic farms

According to the census, there were 46 farms with certified organic and/or transitional production in Prince Edward Island. This represents 3.1% of all farms in the province. Nationwide, 2.0% of all farms reported certified organic and/or transitional production.

The predominant categories of certified organic and/or transitional products reported in Prince Edward Island were the field crops category and the fruits, vegetables and greenhouse production category. Each of the two categories was reported by 27 of the province’s 46 certified organic and/or transitional farms. (The total number of farms reporting does not equal the sum of parts because a farm could report more than one category).

Other agricultural highlights in Prince Edward Island

  • Corn for grain area increased 151.3% since 2006 to 5,082 acres.
  • In 2011, canola area increased to 2,962 acres from 158 acres in 2006.
  • Cranberry area increased 46.7% since 2006 to 110 acres in 2011. Prince Edward Island farm operators also reported areas planted in strawberries, apples, grapes, and raspberries.
  • Total greenhouse area decreased to 424,450 square feet in 2011, a decrease of 20.5% from 2006.
  • No-till methods were used on 3.8% of the land prepared for seeding compared with 56.4% at the national level, conventional tillage on 74.1% compared to 19.0% at national level and conservation tillage on 22.1% compared with 24.6% at the national level.
  • The 2011 Census marked the first time farm operators were asked to report the area from which crop residue was baled for bedding or sale. In 2010, crop residue was baled from 60,627 acres in Prince Edward Island.
  • High-speed internet was reported by 49.5% of all farms in Prince Edward Island, while the national average was 44.8%.
  • In Prince Edward Island 50.2% of all farms in the province reported paid labour for the year 2010. The census counted 4,687 paid employees, of whom 25.8% worked year-round in a full or part-time capacity while 74.2% 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 Prince Edward Island for 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.

back to article

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)

back to article

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.

back to article

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.

back to article

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.

back to the article

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

back to article

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.

back to article

Date modified: