Agriculture in Canada
|Part of a series on the|
|Economy of Canada|
|Economic history of Canada|
|Economy by province|
|Economy by city|
Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world. As with other developed nations, the proportion of the population agriculture employed and agricultural GDP as a percentage of the national GDP fell dramatically over the 20th century, but it remains an important element of the Canadian economy. A wide range of agriculture is practised in Canada, from sprawling wheat fields of the prairies to summer produce of the Okanagan valley. In the federal government, overview of Canadian agriculture is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
In the 16th century Samuel de Champlain and Gabriel Sagard recorded that the Iroquois and Huron cultivated the soil for maize or "Indian corn". Maize (Zea mays), potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), beans (phaseolus), squash (Cucurbita) and the sunflower (Helianthus annus) were grown throughout agricultural lands in North America by the 16th century. As early as 2300 BC evidence of squash was introduced to the northeastern woodlands region. Archaeological findings from 500 AD have shown corn cultivation in southern Ontario.
Eastern Canada was settled well before the West. Immigration and trading posts came later to Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories. The early immigrants combined European agricultural and domestication procedures with the indigenous knowledge of the land and animals of the area.
As early as 1605, the French Acadians built dikes in the Maritimes for wheat, flax, vegetables, pasturage and marshland farming. Dairy production is the main contribution of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, along with livestock and mixed farming ventures. A small percentage of land is put into use in fruit farming as well along Nova Scotia's northwest coastal areas. The American Revolution, 1775–1783, and its attendant food decline resulted in 3100 hectares cleared in Newfoundland. In the early 19th century Irish immigrants began arriving who cultivated the land in Newfoundland. A very small percentage of the land is suitable in Newfoundland and Labrador for horticultural or crop production because there is a lot of forested and tundra geography. The province has some dairy production and farming concerns. Following World War II, farm training was available at the Government Demonstration Farm. Bonuses were paid for such things as the purchase of pure-bred sires, land clearing, and agriculture exhibition assistance to name a few. The industry of fish processing for food is the largest agricultural contribution from Newfoundland. Newfoundland fisheries, supply cod for the most part, followed closely by herring, haddock, lobster, rose fish, seals, and whales. The fishing industry depends very heavily upon exports and world conditions.
Agriculture in the West started with Peter Pond gardening plots at Lake Athabasca in 1778. Although large-scale agriculture was still many years off, Hudson's Bay Company traders, gold rush miners, and missionaries cultivated crops, gardens and raised livestock. The Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut are covered with the Canadian Shield, and rocky outcrops, sub Arctic forest soils, and stony phases make up most of the geography. It is an area of comparatively smaller population and not commercially exploited for the most part. Whaling, prawns, and trapping food processing contribute to agricultural food production here.
In New France hops, hemp and livestock were introduced in 1663. The seigneurial system of farming was adopted in Quebec. Quebec's agricultural sector relies heavily on its fruit and vegetable production. In 1890, a competition began to encourage farmers to improve their farms to achieve the Agricultural Merit Order. County farm improvement contests were begun about 1930 involving over 5,000 farms and their evolution over five years. They have some interests in livestock and mixed farming and dairy as well. From 1947, an artificial insemination and breeding centre has been operating in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec for breeders clubs.
The British enforced Corn (Cereal grains) laws, 1794–1846, protected the British agricultural sector from imports of British North American wheat. The Reciprocity Treaty, 6 June 1854, developed a trade agreement between Canada and the United States which affected trade of wheat grown in Ontario. Northern Ontario is mainly tundra and forested area, whereas southern Ontario has lands suitable for livestock and general farming as well as geography suitable for pasture and dairying industries. Fruit farming can also be found in southern Ontario. Ontario is the largest producer of mixed grains, soybeans and shelled corn in the country. The province is also home to nearly all tobacco farms in Canada, the majority being situated in the Ontario tobacco belt. In the 2011 Canadian Census there were 137 tobacco farms located in Ontario, three in Quebec, and one on Prince Edward Island.
Lord Selkirk, founder of the Red River Colony, harvested the first wheat crop in the western prairies in 1814. Red Fife wheat was introduced in 1868. Swine were brought to the Red River colony as early as 1819. The frontier land of southwest Alberta and southeast Saskatchewan were opened to ranching in the 19th century. Manitoba has a combination of mixed grain, livestock, and mixed farming industries in its southernmost areas. Cattle ranching around Lake Manitoba is also quite successful. Northern Manitoba consists of extensive lakes and forested geographical areas. The Dominion Land Act of 1872 offered agricultural pioneers an opportunity to "prove up" a quarter section of land (160 acres/65 hectares) in western Canada for a $10.00 filing fee and three years of improvements combined with residence on the land. Saskatchewan still has cattle ranching along its southwestern corner; grain farming and crops such as wheat, oats, flax, alfalfa, and rapeseed (especially canola) dominate the parkland area. Mixed grain farming, dairy farms, mixed livestock and grazing lands dot the central lowlands region of this prairie province.
Alberta is renowned still for its stampedes, and cattle ranching is a main industry. The agricultural industry is supplemented by livestock and mixed farming and wheat crops. Alberta is the second largest producer of wheat in Canada. Grain and dairying also play a role in the livelihoods of Alberta farmers.
The open parkland area extends across the three prairie provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Canada's production of wheat, oats, flaxseed, and barley come mainly from this area. Meat processing is the largest industry here, followed by dairy production, breweries, and the subsidiary industry of agricultural implements.
British Columbia is covered in highlands; its eastern boundary is the Rocky Mountains. Agricultural production in British Columbia supplied the gold rush industry, mining and logging industries. Agricultural producers relied on these local markets, following the economic boom and bust of each enterprise respectively. The British Columbia Fruit-Growers' Association was established in 1889 to foster an export market of this commodity. The Canada Agriculture Museum preserves Canadian agricultural history. In 2015, there are approximately 20,000 farms in B.C. that are involved in agricultural activity, such as dairy, livestock, fruit and vegetable farming.
Major agricultural products
Various factors affect the socio-economic characteristics of Canadian agriculture. The 2006 Census of Agriculture listed seven: Quantity and type of farms; Biogeography: crop and land use areas; land management practices; Quantity of livestock and poultry; Agricultural engineering: Farm machinery and equipment; Farm capital; Farm operating expenses and receipts; Farm-related injuries.
Early in the 21st century, Canadian agronomists were aware of 48 "primary grain, vegetable and fruit crops", based on surface area and value. In 2007, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture broke down into five primary "production sectors" Canadian agriculture according to cash receipts:
- grains and oilseeds: 34%
- red meats – livestock: 24%
- dairy: 12%
- horticulture: 9%
- poultry and eggs: 8%
In 2018, Canada was the world's largest producer of rapeseed (20.3 million tonnes), dry pea (3.5 million tonnes) and lentil (2 million tons), the 2nd largest producer of oats in the world (3.4 million tons), the 6th largest world producer of wheat (31.7 million tons) and barley (8.3 million tons), the 7th largest world producer of soy (7.2 million tons), the 10th largest world producer of maize (13.8 million tons) and the 12th largest world producer of potato (5.7 million tonnes). In the same year, the country also produced 688 thousand tons of flax, 505 thousand tons of sugar beet (which is used to produce sugar), 497 thousand tons of tomato, 424 thousand tons of apple, 354 thousand tons of carrots, 341 thousand tons of beans, 311 thousand tons of chickpeas, 236 thousand tons of rye, 240 thousand tons of onion, 219 thousand tons of cabbage, 195 thousand tons of cranberry, 164 thousand tons of blueberry, 173 thousand tons of mustard seed, 138 thousand tons of mushroom and truffle, 120 thousand tons of grape, in addition to smaller productions of other agricultural products.
Grains and oilseeds
In 1925, Saskatchewan produced over half of the wheat in the Dominion of Canada, threshing in excess of 240,000,000 bushels (6,500,000 metric tons) of wheat. Rapeseed, alfalfa, barley, canola, flax, rye, and oats are other popularly grown grain crops.
Wheat is a staple crop from Canada. To help homesteaders attain an abundance harvest in a foreshortened growing season, varieties of wheat were developed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Red Fife was the first strain; it was a wheat which could be seeded in the fall and sprout in the early spring. Red Fife ripened nearly two weeks sooner and was a harder wheat than other spring wheats. Dr. C. Saunders, experimented further with Red Fife, and developed Mini Wheats, which was resistant to rust and came to maturity within 100 days. Some other types of wheat grown are durum, spelt, and winter wheat. In recent years, Canadian farmers have also begun to grow rice.
The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) was established in 1935 to provide Federal financial assistance in regard to the global economical crisis. The PFRA provides farmers with land and water resources such as irrigation, soil drifting conservation and small farm water development. The Farm credit program has established the Canadian Farm Loan Act to provide stock bonds and farm improvement loans.
115,000 cattle roamed the southern prairies by 1900. Livestock can include the raising of cows, also commonly called cattle. Recently domestication of the buffalo and elk has initiated a new food industry. Sheep have been raised for both wool and meat. Bovine or pig barns have been a part of livestock culture. Scientists have been making forward steps in swine research giving rise to intensive pig farming. The domestication of various farm animals meant that corresponding industries such as feedlots, animal husbandry and meat processing have also been studied, and developed. Two corporations (Cargill Foods and Brazil-based multinational JBS) control 80 percent of beef processing, and four retailers capture 72 percent of retail sales. From 1921 to 2011, farming operations have become more intensive and specialized. The total number of animal farms in Canada went from 8.1 per 100 inhabitants to 0.6 per 100 inhabitants. During this period, the number of Canadian pigs rose from 3,324,291 to 12,679,104, while the number of pig farms dropped from 452,935 to 7,371. In 2011, the hog industry was the fourth largest in Canada, after canola, dairy products and cattle, with cash receipts of $3.9 billion. The size of farms had also increased substantially, with the national average rising to 1,720 hogs per operation in 2011.
|Sheep and lambs||704,000|
|Type||Unit of Measure||1951||2016|
|Cattle and calves||Number of cattle farms||452,480||75,307|
|Number of animals||8,370,991||12,530,730|
|Average number of animals per farm||17||166|
|Number of animals||4,915,987||14,091,503|
|Average number of animals per farm||14||1,677|
|Horses||Number of horse farms||451,647||39,164|
|Number of animals||1,306,634||291,561|
|Average number of animals per farm||3||7|
|Sheep and lambs||Number of sheep farms||62,566||9,390|
|Number of animals||1,478,737||1,054,260|
|Average number of animals per farm||24||112|
|Chickens||Number of chicken farms||427,317||23,910|
|Number of animals||64,615,025||145,519,566|
|Average number of animals per farm||151||6,086|
Horticulture crops, which includes nursery, flowers and fruits, became easier to grow with the development of plant hardiness zones. Apples, pears, plums and prunes, peaches, apricots, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, loganberries and fruit orchards are numerous and reach commercial size in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Niagara Peninsula and Norfolk County of Ontario and Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.
Hazelnuts are harvested in Eastern Canada and British Columbia. Maple syrup and maple sugar, maple butter, and maple taffy are products of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River. The main market for Canadian maple syrup and sugar is the United States. Potatoes are an abundant harvest of the Maritime provinces. Sugar beets and beet root sugar are harvested in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta.
Viticulture refers to the growing of grapes for the production of wine. Ontario, and British Columbia are the two largest wine-growing regions in Canada, although grapes are also grown in other regions of Canada, including Quebec, and the Maritimes. In 2015, Canada produced 56.2 million litres of wine. Approximately 62 per cent of all wines produced that year originated from Ontario, while wineries from British Columbia constituted 33 per cent of that years wine production. Canada is the largest producer of ice wine, producing more ice wine than all other countries combined.
In 2015, there were 548 wineries spread across 12,150 hectares (30,000 acres). More than half of Canada's vineyard acreage is situated in Ontario, with 150 vineyards spread across 6,900 hectares (17,000 acres). British Columbia holds 240 wineries, spread throughout 4,152 hectares (10,260 acres). There are 138 wineries in Quebec, which manage 808 hectares (2,000 acres) of vineyards in the province. Nova Scotia holds 20 wineries, which manages 290 hectares (720 acres) of vineyards in the province.
Poultry and eggs
Fowl, poultry, eggs, chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys are part of a system of supply management. Under supply management, production is limited, prices are raised, and competition is severely curtailed, raising profits for farmers through artificially high prices for poultry and eggs paid by consumers. There are around 3,000 poultry farmers and 1,000 egg farmers in Canada.
|Unit of Measure||1920||2018|
|Number of laying chickens||14,229,000||32,668,000|
|Total eggs laid||1,345,776,000||9,601,752,000|
|Eggs laid per chicken||96||294|
|Type||Unit of Measure||1976||2016|
|Chickens||Number of chicken farms||99,128||23,910|
|Number of animals||87,071,513||145,519,566|
|Average number of animals per farm||878||6,086|
|Turkeys||Number of turkey farms||13,810||2,690|
|Number of animals||8,828,549||8,423,900|
|Average number of animals per farm||639||3,132|
191,259 tonnes of aquatic life were killed in Canadian aquaculture systems in 2018. The total aquaculture production was worth 1.43 billion dollars.
Mink and foxes are farmed in Canada for their fur. The total value of mink pelts produced in 2018 was 44 million dollars. This value included pelts taken from animals that died and spring peltings.
|Type||Unit of Measure||1981||2006|
|Mink||Number of mink farms||561||221|
|Number of animals||1,765,184||1,903,918|
|Average number of animals per farm||3,146||8,615|
|Foxes||Number of fox farms||341||106|
|Number of animals||29,980||12,409|
|Average number of animals per farm||88||117|
In recent years farmers have been producing alternative crops which are economically viable, and amongst these are organic farm crops. Hemp and wool from sheep are the main areas of fibre production of Canada. Wool production was on average 16,022,000 pounds (7,267 t) in the 1930s and 9,835,000 pounds (4,461 t) in 1949. Fibre flax from flaxseed has been exported to the United Kingdom. Crop growers may supplement their income with beeswax and honey and learn beekeeping. Enterprising land owners have had success growing as well as packaging and marketing the sunflower seed. Crops are not only for human consumption but also for animal consumption, which opens a new market such as canary seed. Cuniculture, or rabbit farming, is another livestock enterprise. Cannabis is an important crop in some areas, making up 5% of British Columbia's GDP. According to BC Business Magazine, the crop is worth $7.5 billion to the province annually, and gives employment to 250,000 people.
Number of farms by Province/Territory
|Province/Territory||Number of Farms (2001 data)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||643|
|Prince Edward Island||1,845|
Canadian agricultural government departments
The Department of Agriculture set out in the British North America Act of 1867 (BNA) states each province may have jurisdiction over agricultural concerns, as well as the Dominion Government may also make law in regard to agriculture. Newfoundland agricultural affairs were dealt with by the Agricultural Division of the Department of Natural Resources at Confederation.
The BNA states that the federal Government has sole authority in coastal and inland fishery matters. Provinces have rights over non-tidal waters and fishing practices there only.
|Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada||Responsible for policies governing agriculture production, farming income, research and development, inspection, and the regulation of animals and plants. Headed by the Minister of Agriculture (Canada).|
|Canadian Dairy Commission||Responsible for providing dairy producers a fair return for labour and investment and provide consumers with high quality dairy products.|
|Canadian Food Inspection Agency||CFIA consolidates the delivery of all federal food, animal and plant health inspection programs.|
|Canadian Grain Commission||Responsible for the grain industry. Headed by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food|
|Canadian Wheat Board|
|Fisheries and Oceans Canada||Responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's fisheries resources.|
|National Farm Products Council||Responsible for promoting efficient and competitive agriculture in Canada and oversees the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency, Chicken Farmers of Canada and Canada Hatching Egg Producers.|
Canadian farms, fisheries and ranches produce a wide variety of crops, livestock, food, feed, fibre, fuel and other goods by the systematic raising of plants and animals which are dependent upon the geography of the province. In 2001 farms numbered only 246,923 at a size of 676 acres (2.74 km2) as the production of food and fibre for human or livestock sustenance has evolved into intensive and industrial practices. As of 2002, wheat constituted the largest crop area at 12.6%. Canadian farmers received a record $36.3 billion in 2001 from livestock, crop sales and program payments. In 2001, the accrued net income of farm operators from farm production amounted to 1,633 million dollars, which amounts to 0.147% of Canada's gross domestic product at market prices which is 1,108,200 million dollars. Fisheries are also playing an important role while forestry plays a secondary role. Canada's evolution has abandoned subsistence techniques and now sees a mere 3% of Canada's population employed as a mechanized industrial farmer who are able feed the rest of the nation's population of 30,689.0 thousand people (2001) as well as export to foreign markets. (Canada's estimated population was 32,777,300 on 1 January 2007).
The marketing and economic movement of Canada's various agriculture commodities has been a challenge. Domestic trade encompasses providing goods within Canada provincially and inter-provincial. Support agencies and services such as storage, railways, warehouses, stores, banking institutions all affect domestic trade. Trade of wheat from the Canada's prairies was monitored by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) prior to the privatization and sale of the CWB to foreign interests in 2015. Canada's depression of 1882–1897 brought a low of 64¼ cents per bushel ($24/t) as of 1893. This era during Laurier's administration saw thousands of homesteads cancelled. Wheat prices soared during World War I. In 1928, Canada exported high quantities of wheat, flour, and goods. The depression took its toll on Canada as exports sunk to approximately 40% of their 1928 amount. European markets stopped needing to import Canadian wheat as they started growing their own varieties, and then World War II events put a blockade on trade to European markets. Canada became more of an industrial entity during the time of this industrial revolution, and less of an agricultural nation. Following World War II the United Kingdom entered into contract for a large amount of agricultural commodities such as bacon, cheese, wheat, oats and barley. After the United Kingdom, the United States is Canada's largest external trade partner. Between 1943 and 1953, the average export of Canadian wheat was 347,200,000 bushels (9,449,000 t). The three-year International Wheat Agreement of 1955, which really lasted 6 years, included exports of wheat or flour to 28 of 44 importing countries including Germany, Japan, Belgium, UK, and the Netherlands.
Agribusiness are activities of food and fibre production and processing which are not part of the farm operation. This would include the production of farm equipment and fertilizers to aid farm production. Agribusiness also includes the firms that purchase the raw goods from the farm for further processing. The meat packing industry, flour mill, and canning industry would be included in the agribusiness sector processing farm products. A recent growth area in agribusiness is the advent of organized farmland investment funds operating on the model of direct land ownership with rental back to farmers as operators.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, these are the classifications of Canadian Agriculture Industries.
|Brewing industry||Comprises two large national beer producing companies: Labatt Breweries of Canada and Molson Coors Canada|
|Buckwheat industry||Buckwheat flour is used for pancake mixes and pasta. Buckwheat is exported mainly to Japan. The majority of this specialty crop is grown in Manitoba|
|Canary seed industry||In 2005, Canada produced 77% of the world canary seed production. Saskatchewan soils were conducive to bird seed production.|
|Confectionery and chewing gum industry||Sugar and cocoa are imported for this industry which has foreign owned firms operating in Canada. Various candies amounting to $1.48 billion were shipped in 1997.|
|Dairy industry||In the Canadian agri-food economy the dairy industry is the third largest.|
|Dairy genetics industry||The Canadian Record of Performance R.O.P. program discovers dairy cattle of high producing milk capacities. Cattle qualities are monitored by the Canadian Dairy Herd Improvement milk producing agency.(Canadian DHI).|
|Distillery industry||Canadian whisky made from rye and corn is the main aspect of this Canadian industry. The distillery industry also includes production of whisky, rum, vodka, gin, liqueurs, spirit coolers and basic ethyl alcohol.|
|Egg industry||Evolved into an automated industry producing table eggs, enzymes, breaker eggs, processed foods, and supporting pullet producers, egg laying chicken (layers) producers and graders.|
|Fish and seafood industry||This industry produces CDN $5 billion a year. The world's fourth-largest exporter of fish is Canada, from the Atlantic fishery, Pacific fishery and aquaculture sector.|
|Forage industry||This industry comprises feed for livestock, cattle, sheep and horses. Hay is the main forage crop, supplemented by alfalfa, cereals, peas and corn. Besides domestic markets, exports from Canada arrive at Pacific Rim Countries.|
|Fruit industry||Tree fruit grower crops consist of apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and sweet cherry, followed by wine grape areas. The industry supports fresh, canned, frozen and preserved fruits as well as food production.|
|Grains and oilseeds industry||Wheat, barley and oats are Canada's grain exports. Canola, soybean and flaxseed are the main oilseed exports.|
|Grain-based products industry||Grain and oilseed production supports flour milling, malt manufacturing, starch, vegetable fat and oil manufacturing as well as breakfast cereal manufacturing|
|Hemp industry||Spin off industries from Hemp production include aromatherapy, commercial oil paints, cosmetics, edible oil, garments and accessories, hemp meal and flour, snack foods, shampoo and conditioners, and moisturizers.|
|Honey industry||Beeswax produces cosmetics, ointments, candles and household waxes. A diet supplement is made from bee pollen. Propolis and royal jelly is used in cosmetics, creams, lotions, tonics and lip balms. Honey is a sweetener for domestic use or commercial food production.|
|Industrial agriculture (animals)||Factory farming, Intensive pig farming, Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture, and shrimp farming are various forms of industrial agriculture which aims at mass production|
|Industrial agriculture||Includes innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production, the creation of new markets for consumption, the application of patent protection to genetic information, and global trade|
|Maple syrup industry||Maple syrup can be used to make maple sugar, maple butter, maple taffy as well as a sweetener.|
|Mustard seed industry||Yellow mustard is the highest export, closely followed by brown and oriental mustards. 2007 saw an increase in mustard seed prices.|
|Organic industry||Operational certification and standards are challenges for the growing organic farming industry. Organic farming with biodynamics and without synthetic chemicals provides the consumer a holistic plant and animal food choice.|
|Potato industry||Potato Innovation Network (PIN) 2020 was initiated in 2006 to support development of new markets, and new uses for potatoes in market diversification.|
|Poultry industry||Avian Influenza ("Bird Flu") is the latest concern in the poultry industry however disease precautions are in place if this strain arrives in Canada.|
|Processed fruit and vegetable industry||Processing of fruits and vegetables includes consumer products of canned, cider, frozen, jams, jellies and marmalades, pickles, sauces, soups, vegetable and fruit juices and vinegar.|
|Pulse industry||Beans, chickpeas, faba beans, and lentils comprise the pulse industry. Peas soup, and baked beans are large production processes from pulse growth. The world's largest pulse exporter is Canada.|
|Red meat industry||This is Canada's fourth major manufacturing industry. Cattle, calves, hogs, sheep, lambs, venison, bison are all domesticated for red meat export and domestic consumption.|
|Seed industry||Seed growers, field inspectors, registered seed establishments, seed trial plots, and seed retailers are the mainstays of seed production.|
|Snack food industry||Cereal grains, cornmeal, nuts, oils, potatoes, and seeds are the major ingredients of snack foods such as potato chips, mixed nuts, peanut butter, pork rinds, and seed snacks.|
|Sunflower seed industry||About 80 per cent sunflowers grown in Canada are sold as roasted snack sunflower seeds or without the shell for baking. The main consumer is domestic. Birdfeed and sunflower vegetable oils are smaller markets which are being developed.|
|Vegetable industry||The edible portion of a plant is a vegetable. Vegetables can be marketed fresh or as part of the processed fruit and vegetable industry. The greenhouse vegetable industry supports the field vegetable farmer.|
|Wine industry||Canadian vintners producing wines with unique aromas, aging characteristics and flavours bring in international awards. The grape hybrid from the native Canadian species bred with wine producing grapes results in a grape for a shorter, cooler growing season, and a quality not found elsewhere.|
Agricultural science began developing new styles of farming and strains of wheat and crops so that farming could become a successful venture. Farming methods were developed at places such as Dominion Experimental Farm, Rosthern Experimental Station, and Bell Farm. From 1914 to 1922, the Better Farming Train travelled around rural of Saskatchewan areas educating pioneer farmers. The 1901 census showed 511,100 farms and the number of farms peaked in 1941 at a record 732,800 farms. The industrial revolution modernised the farming industry as mechanized vehicles replaced the oxen ploughed land or the horse-drawn cart. Farms became much larger, and mechanized evolving towards industrial agriculture.
Farming activities were very labour-intensive before the industrial revolution and the advent of tractors, combines, balers, etc. From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, a great percentage of the Canadian labour force was engaged in high labour, smaller farming practices. After mechanization, scientific advancement, improved marketing practices farms became more efficient, larger and less labour-intensive. The labour population was freed up and went to industry, government, transportation, trade and finance. Agriculture, stock raising and horticulture employed one-fourth of the Canadian population according to the 1951 census as well as providing products for exports and Canadian manufacturing concerns.
The Oliver Chilled Plow, which could cut through the prairie sod, was in use by 1896. Binders which could cut and tie grain for the harvest season and grain elevators for storage were introduced in the late 19th century as well. Plows, tractors, spreaders, combines to name a few are some mechanized implements for the grain crop or horticultural farmer which are labour saving devices. Many Canadian museums such as Reynolds-Alberta Museum will showcase the evolution and variety of farm machinery.
The depression and drought of the Dirty Thirties was devastating. This drought resulted in a mass exodus of population from the prairies, as well as new agricultural practices such as soil conservation, and crop rotation.
The use of soil conservation practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, and windbreaks was expanded following the drought experiences of the dirty thirties. Literally layers and layers of topsoil would be blowing away during this time. Bow River Irrigation Project, Red Deer River Project and the St. Mary Irrigation project of Alberta, were a few of the major projects undertaken by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (P.F.R.A.) resulting in reservoirs, and distribution systems. A current project is soil liming at the Land Resource Research Institute. Wheat diseases such as wheat bunt and stinking smut can be successfully treated with a fungicide. Disease of plants and animals can break an agricultural producer. Tuberculosis in animals was an early threat, and cattle needed to be tested, and areas accredited in 1956. The newer disease such as chronic wasting disease or transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) affects both elk and deer. Elk and deer raising is a pioneer field of domestication, has had a setback with this disease. Mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie of sheep are monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The poultry sector was plagued by Pullorum disease, and by controlling the flock via poultry husbandry, this disease has been brought under control.
Plants whose traits can be modified to survive a disease or insect have made inroads into Canadian agricultural practices. Cereal rusts which can destroy the majority of areas seeded to wheat, was controlled in 1938 by breeding strains which were rust-resistant. This strain was successful until around 1950, when again a new variety of rust broke out, and again a new species of wheat called Selkirk was developed which was rust resistant. Biotechnology is the center of new research and regulations affecting agriculture this century.
Developmental and educational institutions
To increase the viability of agriculture as an economic lifestyle several improvements have been made by various nationwide educational facilities. Inroads and innovations have been made in the diverse fields of agricultural science, agricultural engineering, agricultural soil science, Sustainable agriculture, Agricultural productivity, agronomy, biodiversity, bioengineering, irrigation and swine research for example. Canadian universities conducting agricultural research include McGill University, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan and University of Prince Edward Island. The Ontario Agricultural College is located at the University of Guelph and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is located at the University of Saskatchewan. The Atlantic Veterinary College is located at the University of P.E.I. and there are also faculties of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary and Université de Montréal. BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation operates in the province of British Columbia.
|Animal Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory||AEBL researches artificial insemination, embryo biotechnology to improve genetic breeding requirements.|
|Central Experimental Farm||Scientific research for improvement in agricultural methods and crops. Features the Canada Agriculture Museum, Dominion Arboretum, and Ornamental Gardens.|
|Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute||CCOVI provides research to enable the growing grapes and production of wine in cooler climates.|
|Devonian Botanical Garden||Emphasis on alpine and cold-hardy plants along with wetland ecology, biology of microfungi, horticulture, and phenology research.|
|Fisheries Centre||Research of aquatic ecosystems and collaboration with Maritime communities, government, and NGOs|
|List of botanical gardens in Canada|
|Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre||NAFC is a part of the Canadian research facility of the Science, Oceans and Environment (SOE) branch and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) provides marine and aquatic research and conservation.|
|Dalhousie Agricultural Campus||Field and animal husbandry studies, aquaculture, international food business|
|Ontario Horticultural Association||Regional horticultural associations promote education about horticulture.|
|Ontario Agriculture College||Education, research and service in agriculture, food, environmental sciences and rural community development.|
|University of Saskatchewan Agriculture & Bioresources College||Agricultural and bioresource engineering, economics, agronomy, animal Science, environmental science, food and applied microbiological sciences, large animal clinical sciences, plant sciences, and soil science|
|Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization||The VIDO facility develops DNA-enhanced immunization vaccines for both humans and animals.|
|Artificial Insemination Centre of Quebec||Cattle artificial insemination and breeding centre with a focus on improving Quebec's milk producing and beef herds.|
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