Farm and Farm Operator Data
Prince Edward Island has the largest potato crop in Canada
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On May 29, 2017, a correction was made in the provincial trend for Prince Edward Island in the section called Canada 150: Farming in Prince Edward Island in the sentence, “ There were 83,326 acres of potatoes reported in the province in 2016…”. The original text was 86,326 acres; it should have been 83,326 acres. Both the HTML and PDF versions were reissued.
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Potatoes continued to be the largest crop in Prince Edward Island. The province also had the largest share of Canada’s potato acreage - despite a decrease from 2011.
Barley accounted for the second largest field crop area in the province and was the largest barley area in Atlantic Canada.
While Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada, it ranked seventh in total crop area in 2016.
Almost half of all farm operators (47.2%) in Prince Edward Island reported working on average more than 40 hours a week on farm operations, almost 10 percentage points higher than the national average.
Data table for Chart 1
|Prince Edward Island||24.2|
Note: Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Source: CANSIM table 004-0213.
Although pig numbers were down by almost one-third from 2011, Prince Edward Island had the largest number of pigs in Atlantic Canada and the seventh highest total in Canada.
Primary agriculture represented 4.5% of provincial gross domestic product (agricultural GDP) in 2013. This percentage increased to 10.3% 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 Prince Edward Island employed 4,235 people in 2015.
The number of census farms down by nearly one-tenth
Prince Edward Island reported 1,353 census farms in the 2016 Census of Agriculture, down 9.5% from 2011, and had the smallest percent decrease in farm numbers in Atlantic Canada since 2011. The number of farms was down 5.9% nationally.
Data table for Chart 2
|Year||Number of operations (thousands)|
|Sources: CANSIM tables 004-0002 and 004-0204.|
Total farm and cropland area are down
The total farm area over which farmers had stewardship in Prince Edward Island decreased 3.2% from 2011 to 575,490 acres in 2016, while cropland declined 2.5% to 400,322 acres.
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Total farm area, which is land owned or operated by an agricultural operation, includes:
- 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 398 acres in 2011 to 425 acres in 2016.
|Component of cropland||2011||2016|
|Percent of croplandTable 1 Note 1|
|Fruits, berries and nuts||3.1||3.6|
|Sod and nursery||0.1||0.1|
Prince Edward Island continues to have the largest land area devoted to potato production in Canada
Potato area decreased 3.7% from 2011 to 83,326 acres in 2016. However, potato production still accounted for 20.8% of all cropland in Prince Edward Island and was the largest potato production area in Canada. In Prince Edward Island, 247 farms reported seeding potatoes in 2016. Potato type farms were the second most common farm type (behind beef type farms) and accounted for $276.1 million of gross farm receipts in 2015.
Potatoes, barley and soybeans were the leading field crops by area in 2016, unchanged from 2011. Barley was the second largest field crop grown in Prince Edward Island and the largest barley area in Atlantic Canada. Overall, Prince Edward Island ranked seventh nationally in terms of total field crop area.
|Source: CANSIM table 004-0213.|
Blueberries drive the increase in fruits, berries and nuts area
The total area of land in fruits, berries and nuts increased 12.0% from 2011 to 14,390 acres in 2016, largely attributable to the increase in blueberry area, which rose 12.8% to 13,884 acres. Apples (153 acres) and cranberries (104 acres) were the other leading fruits, berries and nuts area in the province.
Meanwhile, field vegetable area declined 10.5% to 2,244 acres. Carrots were the largest field vegetable in terms of area and accounted for 39.9% of Prince Edward Island’s total field vegetable area with 895 acres. Rutabaga (20.4%) and cabbage (8.8%) were the other leading field vegetables by area.
The area dedicated to greenhouse flower and vegetable production rose 9.6% from 2011 to 379,408 square feet in 2016. The increase in area was attributable to more greenhouse vegetable area, which more than doubled from 2011 to 160,328 square feet. Although the area dedicated to greenhouse flowers declined 19.3%, it remained larger (219,080 square feet) than the greenhouse vegetables area.
Beef and dairy numbers continue to fall in Prince Edward Island
The number of dairy cows in the province decreased 2.5% from 2011 to 12,805 head in 2016, while the number of farms reporting dairy cows declined 16.4%.
While there were fewer dairy cows, this was offset by increased production per animal, attributable to improved animal nutrition, genetics and production practices. Annual milk production increased 10.1% from 2011 to 110.5 million litres in 2016 (CANSIM table 003-0011, accessed April 21, 2017).
The number of beef cattle declined 11.1% from 2011 to 24,341 head in 2016, as some producers sold stock to take advantage of higher prices and retire or shift to other types of agricultural production. The number of farms reporting beef cattle declined 18.1%. Despite this decrease, beef type farms increased their share of all farms in Prince Edward Island from 16.2% in 2011 to 18.7% in 2016. Meanwhile, beef type farms overtook vegetable and melon type farms, the most prevalent farm type in 2011.
Data table for Chart 3
|Operation type||number of operations|
|Vegetable and melon||250|
|Fruit and tree nut||175|
|Oilseed and grain||148|
|Greenhouse and nursery||35|
|Poultry and egg||22|
|Sheep and goat||17|
|Hog and pig||13|
|Source: CANSIM table 004-0200.|
The number of pigs in Prince Edward Island decreased 30.1% from 2011 to 37,517 in 2016. Prince Edward Island had the seventh largest number of pigs in the country and the largest number in Atlantic Canada.
The sheep flock grew 12.0% from 2011 to 8,916 animals in 2016.
Farm operators in Prince Edward Island are 55 years old on average
There were 1,810 farm operators in Prince Edward Island in 2016, down 11.4% from 2011 and exceeding the decline in the number of farms (-9.5%).
Women accounted for 18.2% of Prince Edward Island’s farm operators in 2016, up from 17.1% in the previous census but below the national average of 28.7%.
From 2011 to 2016, the proportion of farm operators in the oldest age category (55 years and older) rose 7.8 percentage points to 55.1%. The proportion of young operators (under 35 years old) also rose, up 2.5 percentage points to 9.4%. Over the five-year period, the average operator age rose from 54.2 years to 55.0 years.
|Percent of farm operatorsTable 3 Note 1|
|Under 35 years old||6.9||9.4|
|35 to 54 years old||45.8||35.5|
|55 years and older||47.3||55.1|
|Total farm operators||100.0||100.0|
In 2015, 47.2% of farm operators in Prince Edward Island worked more than 40 hours a week on average on farm operations, compared with 47.5% five-years earlier. At the national level, this percentage was 37.5% in 2015.
At the same time, fewer farmers reported working off the farm. In 2015, 40.5% of Prince Edward Island’s farm operators reported having an off farm job, down from the 42.6% in 2010. Nationally, 44.4% of farm operators worked off the farm in 2015.
Expenses and gross farm receipts stable
Gross farm receipts were relatively unchanged (in 2015 constant dollars) at $525.3 million in 2015, while total operating expenses were $446.9 million. On average, for every dollar in receipts, farms had 85 cents in expenses in 2015 for an expense-to-receipt ratio of 0.85, unchanged from 2010.
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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 ratio of expenses to receipts varied by farm type. Operations typed as dairy had the most favourable ratio (0.82) in 2015, compared with 0.77 in 2010. The greatest improvement in ratios came from beef and feedlot type operations, from 0.97 to 0.89. Meanwhile, the ratio of those typed as greenhouse, nursery or floriculture showed the largest deterioration, from 0.93 to 1.02.
Other agriculture highlights in Prince Edward Island
- In Prince Edward Island, 5.8% of farms reported having renewable energy producing systems in 2015, compared with 5.3% nationally.
- In Prince Edward Island, 14.4% of farms reported selling agricultural products directly to consumers in 2015.
- In Prince Edward Island, 25.8% of farms were incorporated in 2016, up from 19.3% in 2011 and just above the national average of 25.1% in 2016.
- The 2016 Census of Agriculture marked the first time farm operators were asked to report whether the operation had a written succession plan. In 2016, 8.4% of farms in Prince Edward Island had a written succession plan, matching the national average.
- The proportion of farms which were certified organic in Prince Edward Island edged down from 3.1% in 2011 to 2.9% in 2016. Nationally, farms producing certified organic products accounted for 2.2% of the total farms in 2016.
- In Prince Edward Island, 8.0% of farms reported using GIS mapping technology in 2015.
- In Prince Edward Island, the average value of the land and buildings per acre increased 26.6% (in 2016 constant dollars) from 2011 to $3,054 in 2016, compared with the national average of $2,696 per acre.
Canada 150: Farming in Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island joined Confederation on July 1, 1873. In 1881, the first census year in which the province of Prince Edward Island was included, farm land accounted for more than 80% of the land area, with 13,629 farms and 39,083 reported acres of potatoes. While total land area of the province is 1.4 million acres, over 40% of the land is dedicated to agriculture, with 575,490 acres of farm land and 1,353 farms reported in 2016. Potatoes are the largest crop by area in Prince Edward Island, accounting for nearly one-quarter of Canadian potato acreage. There were 83,326 acres of potatoes reported in the province in 2016, more than twice as many acres as in 1881.
Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of Prince Edward Island 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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