Farm and Farm Operator DataNewfoundland and Labrador farms have the highest rate of direct marketing

Release date: May 10, 2017

Newfoundland and Labrador reported the fewest number of farms among the provinces in 2016, accounting for less than 1% of all farms in Canada.

There were also one-fifth fewer farms in Newfoundland and Labrador from 2011—the largest percentage drop in Canada—as well as one-quarter fewer farm operators.

Data table for Chart 1
Percent 65.8 34.2 Note: Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding. Source: CANSIM table 004-0244.

Meanwhile, the province reported the highest proportion of farms involved in direct marketing, with just over one-third of farms selling at least one agricultural commodity directly to consumers. Vegetable and melon type operations were the most likely to direct market their products to consumers.

The area dedicated to greenhouse vegetables more than doubled from 2011.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported the second largest mink breeding stock in Atlantic Canada in 2016. However, the breeding stock was down by over one-third from 2011.

Primary agriculture represented 0.2% of provincial gross domestic product (agricultural GDP) in 2013. This percentage increased to 2.9% when agricultural input and service providers, primary producers, food and beverage processors, and food retailers and wholesalers industries were taken into account (Statistics Canada. 2013. Special tabulation, based on 2013 gross domestic product by industry – provincial and territorial).

Agricultural operations in Newfoundland and Labrador employed 1,228 people in 2015.

The number of farms in Newfoundland and Labrador down by one-fifth

The 2016 Census of Agriculture counted 407 census farms in Newfoundland and Labrador, down 20.2% from 2011 and the largest percentage decline in Canada. Nationally, farm numbers decreased by 5.9%. This decline in farm numbers outpaced the reduction in total farm area, resulting in average farm area increasing.

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), number of operations (appearing as column headers).
Year number of operations
1951 3,626
1956 2,387
1961 1,752
1966 1,709
1971 1,042
1976 878
1981 679
1986 651
1991 725
1996 742
2001 643
2006 558
2011 510
2016 407

Highest proportion of direct marketing in Canada

The 2016 Census marked the first time farm operators were asked to report direct marketing. Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest proportion of operations selling agricultural products directly to consumers, with 34.2% of farms selling at least one agricultural commodity directly to consumers for human consumption. This was over double the national average of 12.7%.

Almost all (99.3%) farms that reported direct marketing sold unprocessed agricultural goods such as fruits, vegetables, meat cuts, poultry and eggs, while 10.8% of farms reported selling value-added products such as jellies, sausages, wine and cheese.

Farm-gate sales, stands, kiosks or U-pick were most reported by farms practising direct marketing with 80.6% of those farms using one of these methods in 2015.

Total farm area and cropland decrease

The total farm area over which farmers had stewardship in Newfoundland and Labrador decreased 8.5% from 2011 to 70,747 acres in 2016, while cropland decreased 4.8% to 19,619 acres.

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Total farm area, which is land owned or operated by an agricultural operation, includes:

• cropland;
• summerfallow;
• improved and unimproved pasture;
• woodlands and wetlands;
• all other land (including idle land, and land on which farm buildings are located).

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While the total farm area fell, average farm size grew from 152 acres in 2011 to 174 acres in 2016, an increase of 22 acres. This period saw shifts of area away from horticultural production (vegetables, fruits, and sod and nursery) to field crops.

Table 1
Components of cropland in percentage, Newfoundland and Labrador, 2011 and 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Components of cropland in percentage. The information is grouped by Component of cropland (appearing as row headers), 2011 and 2016, calculated using Percent of cropland units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Component of cropland 2011 2016
Percent of croplandTable 1 Note 1
Field crops 7.9 8.4
Hay 76.2 79.2
Vegetables 4.3 4.1
Fruits, berries and nuts 6.9 4.4
Sod and nursery 4.6 3.8
Total cropland 100.0 100.0

Corn for silage is the leading crop

Corn for silage, potatoes and spring wheat were the leading field crops by area in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016. While corn for silage and potatoes declined from 2011, spring wheat increased, overtaking oats as the third largest field crop. Newfoundland and Labrador ranked tenth among the provinces in terms of field crop area.

Table 2
Largest three field crops in 2016 and their corresponding area in 2011, Newfoundland and Labrador, 2011 and 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Largest three field crops in 2016 and their corresponding area in 2011. The information is grouped by Field crop (appearing as row headers), 2011 and 2016, calculated using Acreage units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Field crop 2011 2016
Acreage
Corn for silage 803 509
Potatoes 510 368
Spring wheat 10 254

Field vegetable area declines

Field vegetable area declined by 8.2% from 2011 to 813 acres in 2016. Carrots (214 acres), rutabagas and turnips (197 acres) and cabbage (122 acres) were the leading field vegetables in 2016.

Meanwhile, the total area of land in fruits, berries and nuts decreased 39.5% to 863 acres in 2016.

The area dedicated to greenhouse flower and vegetable production declined 17.1% from 2011 to 563,010 square feet in 2016.  While area under glass dedicated to greenhouse flowers decreased by 26.6%, area dedicated to greenhouse vegetables increased by 148.0%. Greenhouse and nursery type farms were the most common in Newfoundland and Labrador, accounting for 19.4% of all farm types in the province.

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Operation type (appearing as row headers), Number of operations (appearing as column headers).
Operation type Number of operations
Greenhouse and nursery 79
Vegetable and melon 78
Other crops 68
Other animal 45
Beef 38
Dairy 31
Fruit and tree nut 26
Poultry and egg 21
Sheep and goat 18
Hog and pig 2
Oilseed and grain 1

Fewer dairy cows in Newfoundland and Labrador

The number of dairy cows in Newfoundland and Labrador decreased by 13.9% from 2011 to 5,299 head in 2016, while the number of farms reporting dairy cows declined 10.5%. However, milk production remained relatively stable over this period (+1.8%, CANSIM table 003-0011, accessed April 26, 2017). The decline in the number of dairy cows was offset by increased production per animal, attributable to improvements in animal nutrition, genetics and production practices.

The number of beef cattle declined 28.5% from 2011 to 528 head, while the number of farms reporting beef cattle declined 23.8%.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported the second largest mink breeding stock in Atlantic Canada. In 2016, the province accounted for 13.7% of the mink breeding stock in Atlantic Canada and 8.6% nationally. Since 2011, however, mink breeding stock in the province has fallen by 35.0% to 47,392 as a result of lower demand for fur.

The number of pigs in Newfoundland and Labrador decreased 11.1% from 2011 to 1,017 head in 2016—the smallest pig total in Canada.

The sheep flock grew by 8.0% from 2011 to 2,645 animals in 2016.

The number of farm operators in Newfoundland and Labrador down by one-quarter

There were 500 farm operators in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016, down 25.2% from 2011 and exceeding the decline in the number of farms (-20.2%).

Women accounted for 23.3% of farm operators in 2016, up from the 22.8% five years earlier but below the national average of 28.7%.

The proportion of operators aged 55 years and older rose to 58.2% in 2016. However, the proportion of young farm operators (under 35 years old) increased to 4.8%. Over the five-year period, the average age of farm operators in Newfoundland and Labrador rose from 55.0 years to 55.8 years.

Table 3
Proportion of farm operators by age group, Newfoundland and Labrador, 2011 and 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of farm operators by age group. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), 2011 and 2016, calculated using Percent of farm operators units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group 2011 2016
Percent of farm operatorsTable 3 Note 1
Under 35 years old 4.2 4.8
35 to 54 years old 39.8 36.9
55 years and older 56.0 58.2
Total farm operators 100.0 100.0

In 2015, 43.9% farm operators in the province worked more than 40 hours a week on average on farms, compared with 43.2% in 2010. At the national level, this percentage was 37.5% in 2015.

Meanwhile, fewer farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador reported working off the farm. In 2015, 41.0% of farm operators had an off farm job, down from the 46.1% in 2010 and below the national average of 44.4%.

Gross farm receipts increase while operating expenses decline

Gross farm receipts in Newfoundland and Labrador were $155.9 million in 2015, while operating expenses were$137.9 million. On average, for every dollar in receipts, farms had 88 cents in expenses in 2015 for an expense-to-receipt ratio of 0.88. In 2010, Newfoundland and Labrador’s expense-to-receipt ratio was 0.86.

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The expense-to-receipt ratio is the average amount of operating expenses incurred for a dollar in farm receipts. The ratio is calculated in current dollars.

Price indices were used to obtain constant dollar estimates of receipts, expenditures and capital values in order to eliminate the impact of price changes in year-to-year comparison.

Census Day was May 10, 2016. Farmers were asked to report their receipts and expenses for the last complete fiscal or calendar year (2015).

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The expense-to-receipt ratio varied by farm type. In 2015, vegetable and melon type farms had the most favourable ratio (0.78), improving from 0.79 in 2010.  Fruit and tree nut type operations reported the largest improvement in their expense-to-receipt ratio, falling from 1.53 in 2010 to 0.83 in 2015. Meanwhile, other animal production type operations showed the largest deterioration, rising from 0.80 to 0.99.

Other agriculture highlights in Newfoundland and Labrador

• In Newfoundland and Labrador, 1.7% of farms reported having renewable energy producing systems in 2015, compared with 5.3% nationally.
• In 2016, 35.6% of farms in Newfoundland and Labrador were incorporated, up from 27.6% in 2011 and over 10 percentage points higher than the national average of 25.1%.
• The 2016 Census of Agriculture marked the first time farm operators were asked to report whether they had a written succession plan. In 2016, 5.7% of farms in Newfoundland and Labrador had a written succession plan compared with 8.4% nationally.
• The proportion of farms producing organic products in Newfoundland and Labrador increased marginally from 1.0% in 2011 to 1.2% in 2016. Nationally, farms producing organic products accounted for 2.2% of all farms in 2016.
• In Newfoundland and Labrador, 5.9% of farms reported using automated animal feeding technology in 2015.
• The value of the land and buildings per acre in Newfoundland and Labrador increased 8.8% (in 2016 constant dollars) from 2011 to $3,416 per acre in 2016, well above the national average of$2,696 per acre.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the final province to join Confederation on March 31, 1949. In 1951, the first census year in which the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was included, there were 3,626 farms reported, 7,944 cattle and 73,714 chickens and hens. In 2016, the province reported 9,995 cattle and 1.6 million chickens and hens—over 21 times more chickens and hens than in 1951.

Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of Newfoundland and Labrador for their participation and assistance in the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

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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 Yukon and the 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 Yukon and the Northwest Territories are presented separately.

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 2012 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).

P.T.O. hp (Power Take Off horsepower): The measure of the power available from a tractor engine to drive implements.

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.

Total operating expenses: The Census of Agriculture measures operating expenses for the calendar or accounting year prior to the census. Total operating expenses include:

• any expense associated with producing agricultural products (such as the cost of seed, feed, fuel, fertilizers, etc.).

The following are not included in total operating expenses:

• the purchase of land, buildings or equipment;
• depreciation or capital cost allowance. Depreciation represents economic "wear and tear" expense. Capital cost allowance represents the amount of depreciation written off by the tax filer as allowed by tax regulations.

2010 to 2015: 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.

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, 2016.

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