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Farming in Canada's CMAs

Some farms do better around urban areas

Does proximity to urban areas favour certain farm types? It comes as no surprise that operations that often sell directly to consumers — nurseries and U-pick fruit farms for example — are close to population centres. Likewise, farms that require a lot of labour — horticultural-type operations — might tend to locate around urban areas where they can source the needed hands more readily. Farms that produce perishable products, such as fresh vegetable operations, might also want to be next to their client base, the better to speed food at its freshest to restaurants and markets. Conversely, crop farmers might find it frustrating to farm smaller parcels and navigate farm equipment on busy roads. Large operations with animals might want to locate farther outside the city and forgo neighbours' complaints about the smell. We might anticipate all of these things, but are they supported by Census of Agriculture data?

Recent Census of Population data affirm that Canada is an increasingly urban nation: Between 2001 and 2006 Canada's population grew by over 1.6 million people — a 5.4% increase. Nearly 90% of Canada's population growth was concentrated in large metropolitan areas.

We often think of the largest urban areas — Statistics Canada calls them census metropolitan areas (CMAs) — as the places where people live, shop and work. Farms are often forgotten in the mix. But the reality is different: Over 15.5% (35,467) of the 229,373 farms counted in the 2006 Census of Agriculture had their headquarters in one of Canada's 33 CMAs. This has remained constant since 2001.

Proximity to a large urban area means a mix of benefits and challenges for farmers. Metropolitan areas can boost the value of farm land above that of regions farther away from the city, making it more expensive to own land for farming, and they can split agricultural land tracts so they are more difficult to farm. Urbanites' complaints over farming practices can prove more than a mere annoyance. What urban areas do offer are a ready market for many farm products, a supply of labour (as well as competition for it), and an opportunity for farmers to diversify their income with off-farm revenue.

Many of these assumptions are supported when looking at the distribution of farm types in all 33 CMAs compared to the distribution nationwide (Figure 1). For example, although over one-quarter (26.6%) of Canadian farms are classified as beef farms, they made up only 16.7% of farms in CMAs. Field crop farms, which usually generate lower receipts per acre and need more land to be profitable, made up 39.8% of all farms in Canada, but only 31.2% of all farms in metropolitan areas.

Figure 1 Proportion of farms by farm type, CMAs and Canada, 2006

Greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture operations made up 9.4% of farms in metropolitan areas, but only 3.8% of all Canadian farms. They were also the largest urban agricultural sector in terms of receipts, making up 24.4% of all gross farm receipts in CMAs although nationally they made up only 7.5% (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, CMAs and Canada, 2006

Fruit and vegetable farms were also more common in CMAs: 36.6% of all fruit and vegetable farms were located in a CMA. Fruit and vegetable farms made up 12.9% of all CMA farms in 2006, but only 5.5% of all Canadian farms.

CMAs also had a disproportionate percentage of "all other animal" farms, accounting for nearly a fifth (18.8%) of CMA farms, but just 13.3% of all Canadian farms. This farm type often includes smaller operations, and their gross farm receipts reflect that fact, accounting for only 6.5% of CMA receipts. Included in this farm type are horse operations, which likely have associated agri-tourism receipts that aren't counted by the census, or are hobby farms for the owner's pleasure.

Organic a good fit

Organic farms are the other kind of farm that appears to be a good fit in metropolitan areas. In 2006, 6.8% of farms in Canada reported that they were producing uncertified, transitional or certified organic products, but in all CMAs the proportion was 8.3%. CMA farms were slightly less likely to report being certified as organic by an outside agency. The extra effort and expense of third-party certification may not be necessary when the farmer and the consumer know and trust one another.

British Columbia had the largest concentration of organic farms in metropolitan areas: 30.9% of farms in the Victoria CMA reported organic production; in Vancouver it was 15.7%, and in Kelowna, 12.3%. Thunder Bay in Ontario had the fourth highest proportion reporting organic production (12.1%), followed by Moncton, New Brunswick (11.1%).

Farms of all sizes but small farms dominate

The distribution of farms according to receipts class has shifted considerably in the last five years. Canadian farmers are growing product for the market on operations that are growing bigger. The number of farms in Canada with less than $250,000 in receipts (in constant dollars) declined by 10.5% between 2001 and 2006, whereas the number of farms with at least $1 million in receipts jumped 32.5%, to 2.6% of all farms.

In census metropolitan areas, almost half of the farms have gross receipts under $25,000 but they also have a higher proportion of million-dollar farms than in Canada as a whole (Figure 3). Of all Canadian farms in the largest receipts class, 20.3% were located in a CMA in 2006.

Figure 3 Proportion of farms by receipts class, CMAs and Canada, 2006

Smaller farms can benefit from being in or near a city too, either through job opportunities for those whose farm is a part-time operation, or in niche markets begging to be supplied, or as agri-tourism destinations for city people. Farms with less than $25,000 in receipts made up 47.5% of farms in metropolitan areas, although they accounted for only 38.5% of all farms in Canada. Across Canada the number of farms in the lowest receipts class dropped 8.5% in 2006, but in metropolitan areas they had declined 6.8% since 2001.

Some farms in the smallest receipts class are trying to carve out a niche in the organic market, and in 2006 12.1% of small farms in metropolitan areas reported producing organic products, compared to 10.8% of small farms Canada-wide.

Go to the farm, get a job!

Farms in the CMAs seem to have a large labour pool right on their doorstep that might be an advantage in managing their operations, particularly since paid full-time agricultural work had increased across the country since 2001.

In fact, the 2006 Census of Agriculture found that the rate of farms employing hired labour didn't vary much between the CMAs and the country as a whole (Table 1). However, of all farms employing farm labour, operations in the CMAs offered many more weeks of employment than those in the country as a whole — nearly double on average. They may have only accounted for 15.5% of all farms in Canada, but farms in the CMAs provided over a quarter (27.5%) of the weeks of paid farm employment across the country.

Table 1
Comparison chart of paid work, 2006
  Total farms Farms reporting paid labour Paid labour (weeks)
Total number reporting Percentage reporting Total weeks Average weeks per farm
Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Agriculture
Canada 229,373 89,608 39.1% 7,110,886 79
CMAs 35,467 14,253 40.2% 1,956,502 137

The types of farms favoured by CMA operators account for some of their disproportionate use of paid labour. The nursery, floriculture and greenhouse-type operations more likely to be located in these centres use more labour than other farm types.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta CMA farmers work off-farm more than provincial average

It may seem a safe assumption that farm operators in CMAs would be more likely to work off the farm given that the city's tempting job offers are just a short commute away. But the 2006 Census of Agriculture found that operators on farms in CMAs were just as likely as Canadian farmers in general to work off the farm. Operators in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were the exception (Table 2).

In all three provinces, quite a few more farmers in CMAs worked off the farm than operators in the provinces as a whole, especially in Saskatchewan. In the Saskatoon CMA, 55.0% of operators reported working off the farm, while in the Regina CMA, it was 56.4%. The Edmonton CMA — with its hot job market — had the highest rate of off-farm work among the CMAs at 58.3%.

Table 2
Operators reporting off-farm work in the year prior to the census, Canada, provinces and selected CMAs, 2006 and 2001
  Percentage reporting off-farm work
2006 2001
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Agriculture, 2001 and 2006
Canada 48.4% 44.5%
All CMA 49.4% 46.6%
Newfoundland and Labrador 45.7% 49.1%
Prince Edward Island 43.3% 43.3%
Nova Scotia 48.5% 48.3%
Halifax 43.3% 39.8%
New Brunswick 44.6% 48.2%
Quebec 33.3% 30.4%
Québec  32.1% 32.1%
Montréal 34.4% 30.0%
Ontario 49.6% 45.5%
Ottawa-Gatineau 47.0% 45.5%
Toronto 48.6% 43.7%
Manitoba 47.7% 45.7%
Winnipeg 50.3% 50.4%
Saskatchewan 48.3% 43.4%
Regina 56.4% 54.8%
Alberta 54.6% 49.2%
Calgary 56.4% 54.3%
Edmonton 58.3% 53.6%
British Columbia 54.9% 52.8%
Vancouver 50.1% 49.9%

Livestock less common in CMAs

Livestock operations often require a significant land base to grow feed for the animals and dispose of manure — land that is often in short supply around urban centres.

According to the Census of Agriculture, animals are becoming less prevalent around major urban centres. Nationally, cattle numbers increased 1.4% between 2001 and 2006 but in CMAs they declined 6.9% over the same period. The number of pigs in CMAs declined as well, falling 3.9% yet rising 7.8% nationally. And while the number of hens and chickens fell dramatically in the CMAs compared to the national level (a drop of 10.0% compared with a decline of 0.7%), nearly a quarter of all hens and chickens reported on Census Day were in a CMA — by far the largest proportion of any major livestock type (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Proportions of livestock and poultry in CMAs, 2001 and 2006

Even among the smaller animals often associated with part-time farm operations or with broadening culinary tastes, the decline in numbers was greater in CMAs than in the country as a whole. In the CMAs, sheep were down by 20.0% in the five-year period between the censuses — more than double the national rate of decline. Goat numbers fell even faster, dropping by almost a quarter in the CMAs between 2001 and 2006 but by a much more modest 2.8% nationally (Table 3).

Table 3 Livestock and poultry numbers, Canada and the CMAs, 2001 and 2006

Horses though, are another story. While horse numbers fell nationally, in the CMAs they were up by 5.4%. The number of farms reporting horses also increased by 1.5% since 2001 in CMAs, but by less than 1% nationally.

CMAs and their farms from coast to coast

Clearly, farming within or around the city differs in many ways from farming in rural areas, although there are also some surprising similarities. But what of the regional differences? How do they play out in CMAs across the country?

Halifax still home to large livestock

The prevalence of large animal livestock operations sets the Halifax CMA apart from many of Canada's other metropolitan areas where fruit and vegetable farms, along with greenhouse, nursery and floricultural operations, dominate.

The Halifax CMA consists of the city of Halifax and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 154 farms in the CMA, up 1.3% from 2001.

Within the Halifax CMA, cattle operations dominated: Dairy farms made up 8.4% of total farms and 40.5% of total receipts (Figures 5 and 6), whereas beef farms made up 19.5% of farms but only 3.0% of gross farm receipts. At the provincial level, dairy farms accounted for 7.8% of the total farms and 23.6% of the gross farm receipts while beef farms made up 18.9% of the farms and 5.2% of the farm receipts.

The proportion of fruit and vegetable farms jumped from only 13.2% of total farms in the Halifax CMA in 2001 to 23.4% in 2006. In the province as a whole, they made up 27.9% of all farms. This farm type accounted for 5.4% of the farm receipts within the CMA. Provincially their receipts made up a much larger proportion of all farm receipts, at 16.5%. In Canada this farm type accounted for only 5.5% of all farms and 4.0% of all receipts.

Figure 5 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Halifax CMA and Nova Scotia, 2006

Figure 6 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Halifax CMA and Nova Scotia, 2006

In Québec, maple products a factor

The CMA of Québec shares a number of factors in common with the other metropolitan areas in the country but it also shows some differences.

The Québec CMA consists of the city of Québec and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 800 farms in the CMA, up 0.5% from 2001.

As in the province of Quebec, field crop farms were the most prevalent farm type in this CMA. However, as is typical, field crop farms represented a smaller proportion of farms in the CMA than in the province (27.4% compared with 32.7% for the province). Farms whose gross farm receipts come mostly from maple syrup production are included in the field crop farm classification and these made up 38.4% (84 of 219) of field crop farms in the Québec CMA (Figure 7).

In 2006, 63 farms in the CMA of Québec reported producing organic products. The proportion of farms reporting organic production in the Québec CMA was similar to the province (7.6% compared with 7.9%). In general, there is a higher concentration of organic farms in CMAs than in their respective provinces.

Figure 7 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Québec CMA and province of Quebec, 2006

The growth of the fruit and vegetable and the greenhouse, nursery and floriculture sectors in the CMA stood out when compared to the province. While fruit and vegetable farms increased 17.8% in the CMA, at the provincial level the change was only 6.9%. Likewise, while greenhouse, nursery and floriculture farms decreased at the provincial level, they increased by 16.7% in the Québec CMA. Gross farm receipts for the greenhouse, nursery and floriculture industry rose 101.9%, bringing it to fifth place in the CMA in terms of receipts (Figure 8). At the provincial level, the increase was 38.2% and seventh place. Similarly, the gross farm receipts for fruit and vegetable farms increased 83.9% in the Québec CMA, but just 35.6% for the province. These two farm types generally make a more significant contribution to the agricultural sector around major urban areas.

Figure 8 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Québec CMA and province of Quebec, 2006

Hog and pig farms had the highest gross farm receipts of all farm types in the Québec CMA and also held a larger proportion of the total there than in the province. However, the CMA's proportion of gross farm receipts from hog and pig farms decreased from 28.8% in 2001 to 24.0% in 2006.

Montréal: More likely to grow food than raise it

Although the Montréal CMA is surrounded by large livestock operations in the province of Quebec, the farms within the metropolitan area were more likely to grow food crops than raise livestock.

The Montréal CMA consists of the city of Montréal and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves.The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 2,101 farms in the CMA, down 5.1% from 2001.

Field crop farms were the most common farm here. Some of these field crop operations were maple syrup operations — 149 of the 725 — which explains in part why field crop farms were the second largest contributor to receipts (22.2%) after greenhouse, nursery and floriculture (25.0%) and make up 34.5% of the farms in the CMA (Figure 9). Across Quebec, field crop operations made up 32.7% of total farms but only 14.4% of provincial receipts (Figure 10).

Figure 9 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Montréal CMA and Quebec, 2006

Fruit and vegetable farms and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations contributed much more significantly to the agriculture sector in the Montréal CMA than in the province as a whole. Fruit and vegetable operations represented 22.0% of the farms in the CMA and 19.1% of the gross farm receipts, whereas provincially they accounted for 7.3% of farms and 6.3% of receipts. The profile was similar for producers of greenhouse, nursery and floriculture products who made up 13.4% of the farms and 25.0% of the receipts — compared to 4.8% of farms and 5.2% of receipts at the province level.

Though the province has 1,932 hog farms that brought in $1.6 billion in receipts in 2005 (21.6% of the province's gross farm receipts for 2005), Montréal's hog operations represented only 2.7% of agricultural receipts. Dairy farms, which made up 22.6% of all Quebec's farms made up only 11.4% of farms in the CMA of Montréal.

Figure 10 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Montréal CMA and Quebec, 2006

In 2006, 144 farms reported producing organic products in the Montréal CMA. Within the CMA of Montréal, 6.9% of farms reported producing organic products for sale, which is below the proportion of 7.9% for the province of Quebec.

Ottawa-Gatineau's farms mostly small

This CMA, the only one in the country to straddle provincial boundaries, had 80.0% of its farms in Ontario and 20.0% located in Quebec.

The Ottawa-Gatineau CMA consists of the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 1,933 farms in the CMA, down 5.4% from 2001.

Farms in this CMA were predominantly small, with 51.5% reporting gross farm receipts less than $25,000. The total number of small farms had decreased since 2001. Farms reporting $1 million or more in gross farm receipts increased to 28 operations in 2006.

As in both provinces covered by the CMA, the most common farm type in Ottawa-Gatineau was field crop operations, which accounted for 32.0% of the farms and 20.4% of the gross farm receipts (Figures 11 and 12). The proportion of beef farms in the CMA, at 24%, exceeded the provincial proportions in both Ontario (19.3%) and Quebec (15.3%).

Figure 11 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Ottawa-Gatineau CMA and Ontario and Quebec, 2006

While dairy farms made up only 12.8% of Ottawa-Gatineau CMA farms, they reported 43.0% of all agricultural gross farm receipts. The total gross farm receipts for dairy farms increased despite the fact that there were 80 fewer dairy farms than in 2001.

Despite an overall decrease in the number of farms in Ottawa-Gatineau, some farm types increased. Field crop farms, poultry, "all other animal" farms and greenhouse operations all increased since 2001.

Figure 12 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Ottawa-Gatineau CMA and Ontario and Quebec, 2006

Ottawa-Gatineau region had 184 farms reporting organic production — 9.5% of all farms in the area. Only 6.3% of all farms in Ontario were organic, whereas in Quebec organic farms made up 7.6% of the total.

Agriculture still a presence in Toronto

At first it may seem hard to believe that Toronto, Canada's largest census metropolitan area and home to 5,113,149 people, has any relationship with agriculture beyond eating. But believe it: 2,839 farms operated in the CMA of Toronto in 2006.

The Toronto CMA consists of the city of Toronto and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves.The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 2,839 farms in the CMA, down 5.1% from 2001.

While agricultural operations within the Toronto CMA did differ from the rest of the country in some ways, they were not greatly different from farms in other metropolitan areas. They shared a common preference for the fruit and vegetable and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture farm types, which makes sense since proximity to market means local operations harvest crops at the peak of ripeness and provide the freshest product to market. They can also market their products directly to consumers at U-pick fruit farms and nurseries.

Since 2001, the number of "all other animal" farms, one of the most common farm types within the Toronto CMA, increased by 11.2%, just below field crop farms (Figure 13). While the "all other animal" farms include sheep, goat, horse and apiculture operations, it is horse farms that dominated the Toronto CMA, accounting for 69.5% of the farms in this category.

Figure 13 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Toronto CMA and Ontario, 2006

The "all other animal" farms made up only 5.6% of farm receipts in Ontario, but in the Toronto CMA they represented 16.1% (Figure 14).

Figure 14 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Toronto CMA and Ontario, 2006

The census indicated that 230 farms reported producing organic products in 2006. Over 8.1% of the CMA of Toronto's farms reported producing organic products for sale, slightly below the average for all CMAs, but greater than the 6.3% at the provincial level.

Winnipeg: Field crops dominate

It may come as a surprise that the Winnipeg CMA, rising out of the fertile prairie at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, has some similarity to other metropolitan areas in Canada.

The Winnipeg CMA consists of the city of Winnipeg and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 1,521 farms in the CMA, down 6.6% from 2001.

While fruit and vegetable and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture farms generally dominated the agricultural scene in the CMAs, field crop operations were the most predominant type of farm in the Winnipeg CMA in 2006 (Figure 15). They accounted for 52.6% of the CMA's farms. Second were "all other animal" (14.9%) and rounding out the top three were beef operations (11.8%).

Figure 15 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Winnipeg CMA and Manitoba, 2006

 

Agricultural revenues in Winnipeg were also dominated by field crop operations (Figure 16). Their $125.9 million in gross farm receipts made up 35.9% of the total; hog operations were next, with receipts of $114.1 million (32.6%).

Figure 16 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Winnipeg CMA and Manitoba, 2006

In 2006 beef operations played a larger role in Manitoba than in Winnipeg's metropolitan area, both in number of farms (34.6% compared to 11.8%) and in receipts (15.7% compared to 2.2%).

Winnipeg had higher proportions of greenhouse, nursery and floriculture and fruit and vegetable operations than the province as a whole. Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations accounted for 7.0% of the farms and 7.9% of the receipts in the Winnipeg CMA — much greater than the province (1.5% and 1.3%). Fruit and vegetable farms accounted for a further 4.7% of the farms in the CMA — compared with 1.2% in the province.

In 2006, 99 farms reported producing organic products in the CMA of Winnipeg. Organic production was reported by 6.5% of Winnipeg CMA's farms, compared to 4.2% of Manitoba farms.

Regina's field of dreams

The changes in the Regina CMA between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses of Agriculture show that Regina was right in step with other CMAs in Canada.

The Regina CMA consists of the city of Regina and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves.The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 925 farms in the CMA, down 6.3% from 2001.

Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture farms were more common in the Regina CMA than in the province as a whole, as were field crop farms, fruit and vegetable and "all other animal" farms.

Figure 17 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Regina CMA and Saskatchewan, 2006

Yet Regina is still solidly in Canada's breadbasket. As in 2001, field crop farms dominated, with 68.3% of all farms in 2006 (Figure 17). These operations reported $86.7 million in gross farm receipts in 2006, more than two-thirds of total gross farm receipts in the CMA (Figure 18). This is very much in line with the make-up of the agricultural sector in the province as a whole where field crop farms dominate both in terms of farm numbers and gross farm receipts.

Figure 18 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Regina CMA and Saskatchewan, 2006

Beef and "all other animal" farms — which raise bees, sheep, goats and horses — represented one-quarter of all Regina's farms. Between the censuses, gross farm receipts in hog and pig farming declined; receipts for beef farms, the second most common farm type in the CMA and the province, also decreased significantly.

In terms of farm size, the Regina CMA mirrored Canadian trends: Farms in the smallest receipts class were most numerous but contributed the least to total receipts. Farms reporting gross farm receipts under $25,000 represented 41.7% of the total farms but contributed only 3.2% of total receipts in the CMA. On the other hand, those with gross farm receipts of $250,000 or more reported two-thirds of total gross farm receipts in Regina.

Home of the Stampede, Calgary bucks the trend

Mention Calgary, and oil, beef and the annual stampede likely come to mind. Fruit and vegetable, and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations often seem to predominate around our largest cities but, true to character Calgary, like Edmonton farther north, bucks the national trend.

The Calgary CMA consists of the city of Calgary and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 1,663 farms in the CMA, down 5.4% from 2001.

While beef operations made up a slightly smaller proportion of total farms within the CMA than they do in the province as a whole (37.4% in Calgary compared to 41.5% in Alberta) (Figure 19), beef was still big business in the CMA, making up 37.6% of Calgary's agricultural receipts (Figure 20). In Alberta, beef operations represented 45.3% of total agricultural receipts. What stands out in Calgary is the size of the operations. Within the CMA the proportion of farms in the higher receipts classes grew faster than in most other CMAs.

Figure 19 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Calgary CMA and Alberta, 2006

Farms in the $1 million-and-over class are contributing a growing proportion of total receipts across the country. In Calgary, the proportion of receipts contributed by these largest farms — only 2.7% of the CMA's farms, but 54.3% of receipts — was higher than both the overall national average (39.7%) and the average of all metropolitan areas (48.7%).

Figure 20 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Calgary CMA and Alberta, 2006

Like many other CMAs, Calgary had a larger proportion of "all other animal" farms than the province as a whole. While these operations can run the gamut from apiculture to sheep, goat and horse farms, horse farms dominated with 4,285 horses on 304 operations.

Poultry and egg farms made up 10.0% of agricultural receipts within the CMA of Calgary, but only 2.4% of receipts in Alberta as a whole.

Edmonton every bit an Alberta city

The fact that the CMA of Edmonton is not very different from Alberta as a whole in its farm types is somewhat unusual in itself. To be sure, Edmonton still has a higher proportion of the usual farm types attracted to urban areas than in the province — fruit and vegetable and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture — but the number of field crop farms and beef operations countered the national trend for CMAs.

The Edmonton CMA consists of the city of Edmonton and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 4,328 farms in the CMA, down 8.7% from 2001.

Beef, field crop and "all other animal" farms were the most prevalent farm types in the Edmonton CMA, a situation similar to the province (Figure 21). However, between 2001 and 2006, beef farms and field crop farms decreased in the CMA by 16.0% and 5.7%. At the same time, farms in the "all other animal" category increased from 20.8% of all the CMA's farms in 2001, to 23.4% in 2006.

Figure 21 Proportion of farms by farm type, Edmonton CMA and Alberta, 2006

In 2006, 283 farms reported organic products in the CMA of Edmonton. A slightly higher proportion of Edmonton CMA's farms were producing organic products (6.5%) than in the province (5.4%).

While total farm receipts (at 2005 constant prices) decreased marginally in Alberta between censuses (2.4%), they increased in the Edmonton CMA (3.8%). Beef farms played a smaller role, numerically as well as economically, in the Edmonton CMA than in Alberta in general (Figure 22).

Figure 22 Proportion of gross receipts by farm type, Edmonton CMA and Alberta, 2006

Field crop farms were the biggest contributor to the CMA's farm receipts (32.0%), beef farms were second (22.3%), and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations were third (12.1%) (Figure 22). In the province the top contributors were beef farms (45.3%), field crop farms (31.4%) and hog farms (7.5%).

The number of farms with at least $250,000 in gross farm receipts increased by 9.1% while those with less than $250,000 decreased by 10.3% in the CMA of Edmonton.

Vancouver: Community under glass

Some farm types seem to fare better close to their customer base — such as greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations and fruit and vegetable farms — while others work better where space is wide and open. So it comes as no great surprise that within the Vancouver CMA greenhouse, nursery and floriculture farms are numerous.

The Vancouver CMA consists of the city of Vancouver and includes other towns, municipalities, parishes, townships and Indian Reserves. The 2006 Census of Agriculture reported 2,618 farms in the CMA, down 8.3% from 2001.

One-fifth (20.9%) of the farms reporting within the CMA of Vancouver in 2006 were greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations (Figure 23). They accounted for over half of the receipts in the CMA (Figure 24). At the provincial level this segment contributed one in 10 operations and over a quarter of the gross farm receipts (28.5%).

The growth of the province's greenhouse, nursery and floriculture sector is not limited to Vancouver. British Columbia as a whole has actually seen a larger jump in receipts among these types of farms, which at $756.7 million, were up 22.3% from 2000 (in constant dollars).

Figure 23 Proportion of farm counts by farm type, Vancouver CMA and British Columbia, 2006

Over one-quarter (28.1%) of the CMA's farms were "all other animal" farms (including apiculture to sheep, goat and horse farms), but they accounted for only 5.2% of its gross farm receipts.

Figure 24 Proportion of gross farm receipts by farm type, Vancouver CMA and British Columbia, 2006

Although most farm types in the Vancouver CMA declined in number, fruit and vegetable farms jumped significantly between censuses, with 583 farms reporting operations in Vancouver, up 28.1% from 2001. Of all British Columbia's fruit and vegetable farms, 14.5% were in the Vancouver CMA.

Fruit and vegetable farm receipts in the Vancouver CMA were $121.2 million in 2005, a 44.2% (in constant dollars) increase from 2000. In all of British Columbia receipts for this type of farm increased 34.7% (in constant dollars).

The Vancouver CMA reported 412 farms reporting organic products in 2006. The CMA of Vancouver had the second highest concentration of farms reporting organic products in the country —15.7% of all farms within the CMA reported producing organic products for sale. The highest concentration of farms reporting organic products was in the CMA of Victoria.

The Census of Agriculture serves as a benchmark for many regular surveys on crop areas, livestock inventories and economic data published by the Agriculture Division. These series will, where necessary, be revised to align with census data and measure the constant change and challenges farmers face.

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


Notes

1A census metropolitan area (CMA) has a population of at least 100,000, including an urban core with a population of at least 50,000. Canada now has 33 CMAs, up from 27 in 2001. The six new CMAs are Barrie, Guelph, Brantford and Peterborough in Ontario, Moncton in New Brunswick and Kelowna in British Columbia.

Census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and municipalities that form census subdivisions (CSDs) are distinctly different. CMAs usually comprise many municipalities, one of which, called the central municipality, lends its name to the CMA. For example, the Montréal CMA includes nearly 100 municipalities such as Laval, Longueuil, La Prairie and Mirabel. The municipality of Montréal, on the island of Montréal, is the central municipality, and is the census subdivision for which the CMA is named.

The 33 CMAs are:
St. John's, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Saguenay, Québec, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivères, Montréal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Kingston, Peterborough, Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, Kitchener, Brantford, Guelph, London, Windsor, Barrie, Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Abbotsford, Vancouver and Victoria

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2Many agricultural operations in Canada are composed of numerous parcels of land in a number of locations. These different locations are often situated in several geographic areas (such as townships or counties). In these situations, the "headquarters rule" assigns all data collected for the agricultural operation to the geographic area where the farm headquarters is located.

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3Farm 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 farm. The farm types presented in this document are derived based on North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The figure below show how these derived farm types relate to NAICS.

NAICS five-digit classes Census of Agriculture derived categories
Dairy cattle and milk production  Dairy
Beef cattle ranching and farming Beef
Hog and pig farming Hog and pig
Chicken and egg production  Poultry and egg
Broiler and other meat-type chicken production
Turkey production
Poultry hatcheries
Combination poultry and egg production
Other poultry production 
Sheep farming All other animal 
Goat farming
Apiculture
Horse and other equine production
Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production
Livestock combination farming
All other miscellaneous animal production
Soybean farming Field crops
Oilseed (except soybean) farming
Dry pea and bean farming
Wheat farming
Corn farming
Other grain farming
Potato farming
Tobacco farming
Hay farming
All other miscellaneous crop farming
Other vegetable (except potato) and melon farming Fruit and vegetable
Fruit and tree nut farming
Fruit and vegetable combination farming
Mushroom production Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture 
Other food crops grown under cover
Nursery and tree production
Floriculture production
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4The census measures gross farm receipts for the calendar year prior to the census.

The census definition of gross farm receipts (before deducting expenses) include:

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

The following are not included in gross farm receipts:

  • sales of capital items (for example: quota, land, machinery)
  • receipts from the sale of any goods bought only for retail sales.
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5Organic but not certified: Operations that have not been through a formal certification process (whereby a third-party agent has visited the farm and charged a fee). Some operations may define themselves as organic but not certified because they have been following proper organic farming practices, but do not certify.

Transitional: Operations in the process of converting their farm to organic standards.

Certified: The procedure whereby a (officially accredited) certification body provides written assurance that products or production systems conform to specified requirements. Certification of products 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: Canadian General Standards Board)

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6According to the census, a farm operator is any person responsible for the management decisions made for an agricultural operation on Census Day, May 16, 2006.

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