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Census of Agriculture Counts 2,776 farms in New Brunswick

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On May 16, 2006, the Census of Agriculture counted 2,776 farms in New Brunswick, an 8.5% decrease during the past five years. This is slightly higher than the 7.1% decrease at the national level. On Census Day, there were 629 fewer farms in New Brunswick compared to 1996. A census farm is an agricultural operation that produces an agricultural product intended for sale.

New Brunswick accounted for 1.2% of Canada’s 229,373 farms in 2006, comparable to the share in 2001. New Brunswick’s total ranked eighth in Canada.

At the same time, New Brunswick reported 3,695 farm operators, a 5.1% decline from 2001.

Farm area

Farms in New Brunswick averaged 352 acres of land in 2006, up from 316 acres five years earlier.

The total area of land on farms in New Brunswick increased 1.8% between 2001 and 2006 to 976,629 acres in 2006. It has less than 1% of the total farm area in Canada.

Farmers reported 375,590 acres of cropland in New Brunswick in 2006, slightly up from 367,898 acres in 2001. Cropland is the total area in field crops, fruits, vegetables, sod and nursery.

Farm finance

New Brunswick’s total gross farm receipts were $493.8 million in 2005, while operating expenses reached $423.0 million.

Government-funded program payments contributed significantly to gross farm receipts. Farmers themselves contribute to many of these programs by paying premiums much like any insurance plan. According to Statistics Canada data on direct program payments to agriculture producers, in 2000 for New Brunswick, 1.3% of receipts were from program payments; by 2005 the proportion had grown to 8.1%. The actual value of these payments increased from $5.6 million to $40.1 million (in current dollars) during this period.

According to the farm input price index (FIPI) and the farm product price index (FPPI), the inflation over this period on prices farmers had to pay for the inputs they purchased rose less quickly than the inflation on the prices they received for products they sold— 8.0% for inputs versus 10.5% for products sold. At the Canada level, farm input prices rose 8.6% while farm product prices rose only 1.7%.

Overall, improved efficiency, increased program payments, and higher production have helped to keep the ratios between expenses and receipts relatively stable. New Brunswick’s operators were spending an average of 86 cents in expenses (excluding depreciation) for every dollar of receipts in 2005, the same as in 2000.

The number of farms with less than $250,000 (at 2005 constant prices) of gross farm receipts declined by 10.0% between censuses and those with $250,000 or more (at 2005 constant prices) also decreased by 0.4%. There were 474 of these larger farms in New Brunswick in 2006, and while they only represented 17.1% of farms in the province, they accounted for 83.3% of total provincial gross farm receipts reported for the year 2005.

Organic farms

According to the census there were 239 farms with organic production in New Brunswick on census day, 8.6% of all farms in the province. Nationwide 6.8% of all farms reported organic production.

For the first time, farmers were able to report on their census forms the status of organic products grown or raised. Of the 239 farms reporting organic products in New Brunswick, 17.6% produced certified organic products, less than 1% were in transition to becoming certified and 82.0% produced organic products but were not certified by a Certifying Agency. Farms can report more than one organic status.

The predominant group of organic products grown in New Brunswick was fruits, vegetables or greenhouse products. They were reported on 44.4% of the province’s organic farms.

Farm operators

Of New Brunswick’s 3,695 farm operators in 2006, 20.8% were women, up from 18.0% five years earlier. Nationally, 27.8% of farm operators in 2006 were women.

In 2005, 46.7% of New Brunswick farmers worked more than 40 hours a week on their farm operations, equivalent to the share at the national level. Five years earlier, 45.8% of New Brunswick farmers worked more than 40 hours a week on their farms.

About 44.5% of all farm operators had an off-farm job or business in 2005, compared to 48.1% in 2000. At the national level, 48.4% of farm operators had an off-farm job or business.

Census a snapshot

In spring 2006, when the data from the 2006 Census of Agriculture were being collected, farmers were facing a spring that had been preceded by one challenge after another: bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), avian influenza, circovirus in pigs, falling commodity prices and the rising cost of fertilizers, fuels and other inputs. Since then, some commodity prices have improved, particularly those associated with alternative fuel sources, and even the beleaguered beef industry is showing some recovery after four years of BSE-inflicted hardship. It’s a situation that offers an important reminder that the Census of Agriculture is a snapshot of Canada’s agriculture sector every five years and that the census cannot measure the rapid changes that wax and wane between census years.

Other highlights of New Brunswick agriculture

  • New Brunswick is the third largest producer of potatoes in Canada, after Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. Between 2001 and 2006, potato area in the province increased 2.6% to 59,870 acres.
  • New Brunswick experienced a 269.5% increase in corn grown for grain in the province. The total area went from 1,182 acres in 2001 to 4,368 acres in 2006.
  • Fall rye area more than doubled between 2001 and 2006, increasing from 546 acres to 1,194 acres.
  • Canola has been a growing interest to producers in New Brunswick. The crop has increased 84.2%, with total acreage changing from 481 in 2001 to 886 in 2006.
  • Soybeans are another crop on the increase. New Brunswick experienced a 132.6% increase in soybeans increasing from 810 acres to 1,884 acres.
  • While New Brunswick contributes only a small portion to Canada’s vegetable sector, carrot area has increased in the province from 59 acres in 2001, to 231 acres in 2006.
  • An increase of 74.6% was seen in sod area in the province between 2001 and 2006. Total area increased from 729 acres to 1,273 acres.
  • New Brunswick ranks second in Canada for maple taps. New Brunswick experienced an increase of 29.1% from 1.3 million maple taps in 2001 to 1.7 million in 2006.
  • Llama and alpaca numbers have increased throughout Canada and New Brunswick follows this trend. In 2006, 204 llamas and alpacas were reported in New Brunswick up from 15 head five years earlier.
  • The fur industry has seen some positive changes in New Brunswick. The province’s mink population has increased 74.8% since 2001 to 46,825 mink. The fox population has increased 59.3% to a total of 2,327 foxes.
  • In New Brunswick, no-till methods were used on 5.1% of the land prepared for seeding in 2006, up from 3.0% in 2001. Conventional tillage fell to 78.0% of land prepared for seeding, from 82.2% five years earlier. Conservation tillage was used on 16.9% of the land prepared for seeding, compared to 14.8% of land in 2001.
  • In 2006, 139 farms in New Brunswick reported farm-related injuries that required medical attention in the year prior to the census. Injuries were reported on 5.0% of New Brunswick farms, compared to 6.0% of all farms in Canada.
  • About 42.2% of all operations in New Brunswick reported using a computer for farm business in 2006, compared to 33.6% of operations in 2001.

Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of New Brunswick for their participation and assistance in the 2006 Census of Agriculture.

For more information on this release, contact Gaye Ward (613-951-3172), Census of Agriculture, or Media Relations (613-951-4636).


Direct program payments to producers represent the amounts paid under various government agricultural programs to agriculture producers. Farmers themselves contribute to many of these programs by paying premiums much like any insurance plan.

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