The 2016 Census of Agriculture in detail

Changes, additions or deletions from the 2011 questionnaire by topic in the order they appear on the 2016 questionnaire.

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Cover page and Step 1: Business information and contact information for the person completing the questionnaire

  • In 2011, some of the information requested in Step 1 was asked in Step 4 (business number, farm and corporation name) whereas the name and contact information of the person completing the questionnaire is new. By requesting the contact information for the person completing the questionnaire, it is no longer necessary to request the contact information for each operator as was done in Step 2 in 2011.
  • The email address of the person completing the questionnaire is being asked for the first time in 2016. In 2006, the email address of the first operator was requested. In 2011, this question was replaced with an alternate telephone number question for the first operator instead of the email address.
  • Instructions for completing the paper questionnaire and via the Internet were removed as this information is now included in the invitation letter, which is sent to all respondents. In 2011, a paper questionnaire was sent to all respondents. This is the first time a paper questionnaire will not be sent to all respondents and instead they will receive an invitation letter with a Secure Access Code inviting them to complete the questionnaire electronically.

Step 2. Operator identification for up to three operators per farm

  • The information requested in Step 2 is a combination of information requested in Step 2 and Step 3 in 2011 with some response categories removed and some questions revised:
    • Residence on the farm is no longer requested.
    • The address of each operator is no longer requested in 2016 (however, the postal code question remains).
    • The wording of the questions regarding on-farm and off-farm work was revised to improve comprehension of these questions.

Step 3. Main farm location

  • Formerly Step 5.
  • Postal code was added to the civic address question.
  • To ease reporting for Western producers and to include respondents in the Peace River region of British Columbia, the following instruction was added to the first question of this section: “For the Prairies and parts of British Columbia, report in question 8.” Question 8 provides space for the respondent to report the farm location in terms of Quarter, Section, Township, Range and Meridian rather than civic address.
  • On the French questionnaire, further precision was required: the term “the Prairies” was replaced with “Prairie provinces” to further clarify who could respond to question 8.

Step 4. Unit of measure

  • Formerly Step 6.
  • No content changes.

Step 5. Workable and non-workable land (land tenure)

  • Formerly Step 7.
  • Wording and spatial changes were made to the explanation of non-workable land to visually split it out into definitions of idle land and the land that buildings are located on. The following explanation was added:
    • Workable land includes all cropland, nursery, sod, summerfallow, pasture, etc.
    • Non-workable land includes:
      • All idle land: woodlots, bush, ponds, bogs, marshes, buffer zones, etc.
      • All land buildings are located on: greenhouses, mushroom houses, farm house, barns, etc.
  • There is no change in the response categories from 2011.
  • For the net area of the operation, the instruction to report on this area throughout the questionnaire was revised and the parentheses removed to increase the visibility and understanding of this instruction.

Step 6. Hay and field crops

  • Formerly Step 8.
  • In an effort to discourage respondents from reporting production on land that they are not themselves operating (which introduces double counting of land), the following instruction was added to all the steps on which land based production occurs:
    • Do not include land used by others.
  • “Caraway seed” was removed as a separate response category (formerly question 46) and was added to “Other field crops.”

Step 7. Vegetables

  • Formerly Step 9.
  • In an effort to discourage respondents from reporting production on land that they are not themselves operating (which introduces double counting of land), the following instruction was added to all the steps on which land based production occurs:
    • Do not include land used by others.
  • The number of lines to report “Other vegetables” was reduced from four spaces to three.

Step 8. Fruits, berries or nuts

  • Formerly Step 11.
  • In an effort to discourage respondents from reporting production on land that they are not themselves operating (which introduces double counting of land), the following instruction was added to all the steps on which land based production occurs:
    • Do not include land used by others.

Step 9. Sod, nursery products and Christmas trees

  • Formerly Step 10.
  • Further clarification was added to the question on the total area of nursery products grown for sale to include products also grown “in cold frames or tunnels.”
  • The English questionnaire was revised to match the French questionnaire for the instruction on calculating the total area of Christmas trees.

Step 10. Land use

  • Formerly Step 12.
  • Further clarification was added to the question on summerfallow area. In 2011, the instruction was to “include chemfallow.” In 2016, this was expanded to say “include cropland on which no crops will be grown during the year but that will have weeds controlled by tillage or chemical application.”

Step 11. Weed control on summerfallow land

  • Formerly Step 13.
  • No content changes.

Step 12. Tillage practices for land seeded or to be seeded

  • Formerly Step 15.
  • No content changes.

Step 13. Practices and land features

  • Formerly Step 14.
  • The wording of the question was revised to ease reporting.
  • “No / Yes” responses are now required for each practice listed.
  • Three practices were removed from the response categories:
    • crop rotation
    • nutrient management planning
    • buffer zones around water bodies.
  • Examples for “winter cover crops” now include “fall rye, winter wheat, red clover, etc.” which should improve reporting of this question.

Step 14. Area from which crop residue was baled

  • Formerly Step 16.
  • To reduce the number of respondents reporting for baled residue that they have taken off someone else’s land, further precision was included in the instruction to include only area “of this operation” from which crop residue was baled for bedding or sale.

Step 15. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, commercial fertilizers, lime, trace minerals and nutrients (copper, manganese, etc.)

  • Formerly Step 17.
  • A new instruction was added to exclude treated seed from being reported in this step.
  • The question was revised to include one new response category: Trace minerals and nutrients (copper, manganese, etc.)

Step 16. Manure

  • Formerly Step 19.
  • In 2011, this step consisted of two questions. For 2016, one question with five response categories was removed:

Which of the following apply to the manure used or produced on this operation in 2010?

  • Applied on this operation
  • Applied on land that was rented TO others
  • Sold or given to others
  • Bought or received FROM others
  • Other (composted, processed, dried, stored, etc.)
  •  In the second question, one of the response categories was also removed (there are now four response categories instead of five):
    • Manure spread naturally by grazing livestock

Step 17. Irrigation

  • Formerly Step 18.
  • The instruction to exclude the area of land where only manure was applied by irrigation was removed to improve comprehension of this question.
  • The heading on the response box was revised to include the word “irrigated” (i.e. “Area irrigated in 2015” rather than “Area in 2015”) to help improve reporting.
  • For 2016, the following five response categories were replaced with “total area of land irrigated”:
    Report the area of land irrigated for each of the following in 2010:
    • Irrigated alfalfa, hay and pasture
    • Irrigated field crops
    • Irrigated vegetables
    • Irrigated fruits
    • Other irrigated areas (nursery, sod, etc.)

Step 18. Organic products

  • Formerly Step 35.
  • A new instruction to include certified products or those in the process of becoming certified was added.
  • In 2011, this step consisted of three questions with nine response categories. In 2016, one question with six response categories was removed following consultations with data users:
    Report the status in 2011 for the organic products produced for sale.
    (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Field crops (grains, oilseeds, etc.) or hay
    • Fruits, vegetables or greenhouse products
    • Animals or animal products (meat, dairy products, eggs, etc.)
    • Maple products
    • Herbs, spices or garlic
    • Other - Specify:

Step 19. Greenhouse products

  • Formerly step 20.
  • To improve reporting of this step an instruction was added: “For unheated cold frames or tunnels, report these areas in Step 7 or Step 8.”

Step 20. Mushrooms

  • Formerly Step 21.
  • No content changes.

Step 21. Maple tree taps

  • Formerly Step 22.
  • No content changes.

Step 22. Bees

  • Formerly Step 23.
  • No content changes in the English questionnaire.
  • A minor wording change was made to the question in French to improve comprehension; the Census only wants respondents to report for the bees they own. Therefore, the words “is the owner of bees” was added to the French question because the verb to own (possède) does not necessarily imply one is the owner of the bees.

Step 23. Technology used on the operation

  • This step is new for 2016. It expands on a previous question that asked if a computer, the Internet and high-speed Internet were used for the farm business. This new step consists of one question with 11 response categories:

    In 2015, which of the following TECHNOLOGIES were used on this operation?

    Include work done by others on this operation.   
    (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Computers/laptops for farm management
    • Smart phones/tablets for farm management
    • Automated steering (auto-steer)
    • GPS technology
    • GIS mapping (e.g., soil mapping)
    • Greenhouse automation
    • Robotic milking
    • Automated environmental controls for animal housing
    • Automated animal feeding
    • Other technology — Specify:
    • None of the above

Step 24. Poultry inventories

  • No content changes.

Step 25. Chicken and turkey production

  • No content changes.

Step 26. Eggs

  • No content changes.

Step 27. Commercial hatcheries

  • No content changes.

Step 28. Livestock

  • Minor changes were made to this step:
    • The four headings on the response box columns were revised to include the census date. They now read:  “Number on May 16, 2016” instead of “Number.”
    • The order the animals are listed was revised in the “Other livestock” category.
    • “Wild boars” was removed as a separate response category and was added to the examples in the response category: “Other livestock—Specify.
    • On the French questionnaire, the word “chevreuils” was changed to “cerfs” as this is the proper French term.

Step 29. Market value of land and buildings

  • No content changes.

Step 30. Farm machinery and equipment

  • Some changes were made to the inclusion instructions to clarify what is to be reported where:
    • The “include” instruction was revised to specify that equipment “owned or leased by this operation” as well as machinery owned jointly with a different operation should be included.
    • An additional instruction was added to “Report fixed equipment in STEP 29” instead of in Step 30.
  • The dollar amounts used in the example were updated.
  • Some changes were made to this step to combine response categories to simplify reporting
    • In 2011, the number of response categories for tractors was four. This has been reduced to three response categories for 2016.
    • In 2016, the two response categories for pick-up trucks and farm passenger vehicles were amalgamated into one response category.
    • In 2016, the “combines” response category became “grain combines” to add more precision. In addition, the four response categories: “Combines,” “Swathers and mower-conditioners,” “Balers,” and “Forage harvesters” were combined into two response categories as follows:
      • “Grain combines and swathers”
      • “Forage harvesters, balers, mower-conditioners, etc.”
    • In 2016, the “All other farm machinery and equipment” response category was revised to include “other harvesting equipment and Christmas tree balers.” The example of “workshop equipment” was removed.

Step 31. Total gross farm receipts and total farm operating expenses

  • Formerly Step 31 and Step 32; these two steps have been combined into one for 2016.
  • For the gross farm receipts, the following instructions were removed:
    • Account books or completed income tax forms, if available, are useful in completing this page.
  • For the gross farm receipts and farm operating expenses, the following instructions were revised:
    • Do not include “the sale of any goods purchased only for retail sales” was replaced with “the sale of any goods purchased only for resale.”
    • The instruction to report for the calendar year “In 2015” replaces the instruction “in 2010 (calendar year) or for the last complete accounting (fiscal) year.”
  • Only the total farm operating expenses is requested in 2016. All the detailed expenses have been removed from the questionnaire:
    • Fertilizer and lime
    • Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.
    • Seeds and plants (Do not include materials purchased for resale.)
    • Feed, supplements and hay
    • Livestock and poultry purchases
    • Veterinary services, drugs, semen, breeding fees, etc.
    • Custom work, contract work and hired trucking
    • "Wages and salaries (including all employee benefits):
      • paid to family members
      • paid to all other persons
    • All fuel (diesel, gasoline, oil, wood, natural gas, propane, etc.)
    • Repairs and maintenance to farm machinery, equipment and vehicles
    • Repairs and maintenance to farm buildings and fences
    • Rental and leasing of land and buildings (including community pasture and grazing fees)
    • Rental and leasing of farm machinery, equipment and vehicles
    • Electricity, telephone and all other telecommunications services
    • Farm interest expenses (Do not include payment of principal or amount of debt outstanding.)
    • All other farm business operating expenses not reported above, such as property taxes, packaging materials, farm and crop insurance premiums, irrigation levies, legal and accounting fees, etc. (Do not include depreciation or capital cost allowance.)

Step 32. Paid employees

  • Formerly Step 33
  • This step was completely modified in its structure. In 2011, there was a table to be completed; in 2016, there are a series of questions similar in layout to the rest of the steps on the questionnaire.
  • A specific instruction to include family and non-family members was also added.

Step 33. Direct marketing

  • This step is new. It consists of two questions with six response categories:
    In 2015, did this operation SELL any agricultural products DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS for human consumption?
    Do not include the sale of any goods purchased only for resale
    • No   Go to STEP 34
    • Yes
  • In 2015, which of the following products were sold directly to consumers for human consumption?
    (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Unprocessed agricultural products (such as fruits, vegetables, meat cuts, poultry, eggs, maple syrup, honey, etc.)
    • Value added products (such as jellies, sausages, wine, cheese, etc.)
  • In 2015, which of the following methods were used to sell directly to consumers for human consumption? (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Farm gate sales, stands, kiosks, U-pick
    • Farmers’ markets
    • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
    • Other methods—Specify:

Step 34. Operating arrangement

  • Formerly Step 4.
  • No content changes were made to the English questionnaire.
  • To clarify the meaning of “Société de personnes avec contrat écrit (incluant les sociétés en nom collectif,” the acronym “SENC”) was added.

Step 35. Succession plan

  • This step is new. It consists of one question with two response categories:
    As of May 10, 2016 did this operation have a WRITTEN SUCCESSION PLAN?
    A succession plan is more extensive than a will. It is a formalized plan that ensures the future continuity of this farm business.
    It contains three elements: transfer of management and control; transfer of assets and ownership; and transfer of labour.
    • No   Go to STEP 36
    • Yes 
    In your written succession plan, will the successor(s) for this operation be:
    (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Family member(s)
    • Non-family member(s)

Back page

Step 36. Renewable energy producing systems

  • This step is new. It consists of one question with seven response categories.
    In 2015, were there any renewable energy producing systems, regardless of ownership, on this operation?
    Include systems that produce energy for this operation or for sale.
    • No   End of questionnaire, thank you.
    • Yes
  • In 2015, which of the following renewable energy producing systems were on this operation?
    (Fill in all applicable circles.)
    • Solar panels
    • Wind turbines
    • Anaerobic biodigester (biogas or methane)
    • Biodiesel production systems
    • Geothermal electric power generator
    • Hydro electric power generator
    • Other renewable energy producing systems — Specify:
  • The information provided on the back page was simplified.
  • The first paragraph includes the following two new statements:
    • The data are needed to make informed decisions about business management strategies, agricultural policies, programs and services that directly affect farmers and rural communities.
    • Census data provide a reliable source of information to farm organizations, government departments, agriculture suppliers and service providers, and researchers that help them to understand and respond to changes in agriculture.
  • The following three bullets were removed:
    • Census information on livestock counts, crop area and types of crops planted give a historical picture of the changes in Canadian agriculture over time.
    • The census collects information on minimum and no-till seeding, organic products, new crops or livestock and other innovations in agriculture.
    • It tracks partnerships and corporations, computer use and major farm expenses to paint a statistical picture of the business of farming.”
  • The answer to “But why in May” was reduced from two paragraphs to one and now reads:
    • Statistics Canada recognizes that mid-May is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. However, collecting the data at the same time as the Census of Population streamlines procedures and saves millions of dollars.
  • Information on the “Use of record linkages” replaces the information on “Why not use tax data instead of asking financial questions?” and now reads:
    • To enhance the data from this census and to minimize the reporting burden, Statistics Canada may combine it with information from other surveys or from administrative sources.
  • Information on “The law protects what you tell us” was reduced from two paragraphs to one and now reads:
    • The confidentiality of your census responses is protected by law. All Statistics Canada employees have taken an oath of secrecy. Your personal census information cannot be given to anyone outside Statistics Canada without your consent. This is your right.
  • Information on fax or e-mail transmission disclosure is new and reads as follows:
    • Statistics Canada advises you that there could be a risk of disclosure during facsimile or other electronic transmission. However, upon receipt, Statistics Canada will provide the guaranteed level of protection afforded all information collected under the authority of the Statistics Act.
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