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Agriculture in Canada

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Title: Agriculture in Canada  
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Subject: Economy of Alberta, Transportation in Canada, Outline of Canada, Economic history of Canada, Energy policy of Canada
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Agriculture in Canada

Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world. As with other developed nations, the proportion of the population and GDP devoted to agriculture 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.[1]


  • History 1
  • Agricultural Museums 2
  • Major agricultural products 3
    • Crops 3.1
    • Horticulture 3.2
    • Viticulture 3.3
    • Livestock 3.4
    • Poultry and eggs 3.5
    • Dairy farming 3.6
    • Aquaculture 3.7
    • Other 3.8
    • Number of farms by Province/Territory 3.9
  • Canadian agricultural government departments 4
  • Agricultural economy 5
  • Trade 6
  • Agribusiness 7
  • Industry categories 8
  • Agricultural Science 9
  • Production 10
  • Farm equipment 11
  • Challenges 12
  • Developmental and educational institutions 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17


Farm yard in summer

In the 17th century Samuel de Champlain and Gabriel Sagard recorded that the Iroquois and Huron cultivated the soil for maize or "Indian corn".[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

Ontario farm

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.[7] 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.[8]

In New France hops, hemp and livestock were introduced in 1663. The seigneurial system of farming was adopted in Quebec.[9] 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 center has been operating in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec for breeders clubs.[10][11]

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.[12] 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 and tobacco farms can also be found in southern Ontario. Ontario is the largest producer of mixed grains, soybeans and shelled corn in the country.[13]

Grain Elevators

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20] The Canada Agriculture Museum preserves Canadian agricultural history.[21] 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.[22]

Agricultural Museums

Major agricultural products

Agriculture in Canada comprises five main agricultural production sectors of commodity production resulting in farm cash receipts from both domestic and for marketing |+Five Largest Agricultural Production Sectors.[23] !align=left|Sector !per cent cash receipt !Primary market |- |align=left|grains and oilseeds
(wheat, durum, oats, barley, rye, flax seed, canola, soybeans, rice, and corn) |34% |domestic and export |- |align=left|red meats – livestock
(beef cattle, hogs, veal, and lamb) |24% |domestic and export |- |align=left|dairy |12% |domestic |- |align=left|horticulture |9% |domestic |- |align=left|poultry and eggs |8% |domestic |}

Various factors affect the socio-economic characteristics of Canadian agriculture.

Alberta modern cement grain elevator
Agricultural analytical factors[24]
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


Wheat head close up view

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.[25] 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 Marquis Wheat, 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 due to the increase in the Asian population in Canada.[26]

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.[27]


Vegetable Displays

Horticulture which includes nursery and floral crops, and fruits became easier to grow with the development of plant hardiness zones.[28] 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[29] of British Columbia.

Hazelnuts are harvested in Eastern Canada and British Columbia.[30] 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.[31] Potatoes are an abundant harvest of the Maritime provinces.[32] Sugar beets and beet root sugar are harvested in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta.[33]


Viticulture refers to the growing of grapes. Grapes require a mild winter season, which can be found in some Maritime locations, southern British Columbia, and locations on the Niagara Peninsula.[34][34]


Prize Bull

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[35] and elk[36] has initiated a new food industry. Sheep have been raised for both wool and meat.[37] Bovine or pig barns have been a part of livestock culture.[38] 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.

Canadian Livestock and Poultry, 10 May 2011 (from Statistics Canada[39])
Type Number
Cattle and calves 12,789,965.
Dairy cows 961,726
Pigs 12,679,104
Sheep and lambs 1,108,574.
Goats 255,461
Horses and ponies 392,340
Broilers 94,422,709
Laying hens 22,086,759
Turkeys 8,021,500

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.[40] There are around 3,000 poultry farmers and 1,000 egg farmers in Canada.[41]

Dairy farming

Like poultry, dairy farming in Canada is restricted under the system of supply management. There are around 13,000 dairy farmers in Canada.[40]



In recent years farmers have been producing alternative crops which are economically viable, and amongst these are 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.[10] 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.[42]

Number of farms by Province/Territory

Province/Territory[43] Number of Farms (2001 data)[43]
Alberta 53,652
British Columbia 20,290
Manitoba 21,071
New Brunswick 3,034
Newfoundland and Labrador 643
Nova Scotia 3,923
Ontario 59,729
Prince Edward Island 1,845
Quebec 32,139
Saskatchewan 50,598
Northwest Territories 30
Nunavut 1
Yukon 650

Canadian agricultural government departments

The Department of Agriculture set out in the British North America Act (B.N.A.) of 1867 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.[10]

The B.N.A. Act 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.[10]

Canadian agricultural government departments
Department Function
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.

Agricultural economy

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.[44][45] 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.[46] 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.[45] 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.[47] (Canada's estimated population was 32,777,300 on 1 January 2007).[48]


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 are monitored by the Canadian Wheat Board. 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).[49] 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.[27][49]


  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada / Agriculture et Agroalimentaire
  • Agriculture - Province of B.C.
  • Canada Agriculture Museum
  • Soil to Sky: Careers in Canadian Agriculture in Food

External links

  • Pleva, E.G. and Inch, Spencer, ed. (1977). Canadian Oxford School Atlas. The Bryant Press Limited.  
  • Hardy, W.G., ed. (1959). From Sea unto Sea. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 
  • Hutchison, Bruce, ed. (1945). The Unknown Country. Longmans, Green & Co., Toronto. 
  • Daly, Ronald C., ed. (1982). The Macmillan School Atlas. Gage Educational Publishing Company A Division of Canada Publishing Corporation.  
  • Cloutier, Edmond, ed. (1951). The Canada Year Book 1951 The Official Statistical Annual of the Resources, History, Institutions, and Social and Economic Conditions of Canada. King's Printer and Controller of Stationery.  
  • Cloutier, Edmond, ed. (1956). Canada 1956 The Official Handbook of Present Conditions and Recent Progress. Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery, Ottawa. 
  • Kerr, D.G.G., ed. (1959). A Historical Atlas of Canada. Thomas Nelson and Sons (Canada) Ltd. 
  • Dorland, Arthur G., ed. (1949). Our Canada. The Copp Clark Publishing Co, Limited. 

Further reading

  1. ^ "Welcome to AAFC Online". Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Government of Canada. 24 January 2008. 
  2. ^ Bélanger, Claude (2004). "Indian agriculture – Indians of Canada and Quebec". Marianopolis College. 
  3. ^ Dickason, Olive Patricia (1997). Canada's First Nations A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times (second ed.). Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 20–22.  
  4. ^ Dick, Lyle; Taylor, Jeff (2008). "Agriculture, History of". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  5. ^ Dick, Lyle; Taylor, Jeff (2008). "Agriculture, History of: Newfoundland". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Cadigan, Sean (1998). "Agriculture: Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  7. ^ Dick, Lyle; Taylor, Jeff (2008). "Agriculture, History of". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Dick, Lyle; Taylor, Jeff (2008). "Quebec. Agriculture, History of". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Cloutier, Edmond, ed. (1951). The Canada Year Book 1951 The Official Statistical Annual of the Resources, History, Institutions, and Social and Economic Conditions of Canada. King's Printer and Controller of Stationery.  
  11. ^ "2001 Census of Agriculture – Agriculture in Quebec". Sharp decline in number of farms in Quebec. 2001 Census of Agriculture. 2 December 2003. Archived from the original on 5 March 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  12. ^ Masters, D.C. (2008). "Reciprocity Agriculture, History of". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  13. ^ "The Archives of Ontario Celebrates Our Agricultural Past". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Archives of Ontario. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  14. ^ Hubner, Brian (1998). "History of Agriculture in the Prairie Provinces". University of Manitoba Libraries. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  15. ^ Deveson, Morris; Bill; Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio (28 February 1995). "Manitoba History: Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame". Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Inc. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  16. ^ Adamson, Julia (25 March 2007). "Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – Homestead Information". rootsweb. Retrieved 7 April 2007. 
  17. ^ "Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame". communications inc. 2006. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  18. ^  
  19. ^ "History of Agriculture in the Prairie Provinces". Archives of the Agricultural Experience. University of Manitoba Archives Special Collections, the Libraries. 1998. Archived from the original on 30 March 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  20. ^ Dick, Lyle; Taylor, Jeff (2008). "British Columbia. Agriculture, History of". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
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  22. ^ "Agriculture - Province of B.C.". 10 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
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See also

Examples of some Canadian developmental and educational institutions
Institution Research Programme
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.[100]
Nova Scotia Agricultural College Field and animal husbandry studies.
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 Center of Quebec Cattle artificial insemination and breeding center with a focus on improving Quebec's milk producing and beef herds.

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, Nova Scotia 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.[96] The Atlantic Veterinary College is located at the University of P.E.I.[97] and there are also faculties of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary[98] and Université de Montréal.[99] BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation operates in the province of British Columbia.

Developmental and educational institutions

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.[93] Biotechnology is the center of new research and regulations affecting agriculture this century.[94][95]

Soil conservation practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, and windbreaks to name a few were massively developed and set in forth upon recovering from 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.[10] A current project is Liming (soil) soil liming at the Land Resource Research Institute.[88][89] 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.[90] Mad cow disease in cattle[91] and scrapie of sheep[92] 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.

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.[87]


Harvest of Wheat via combine

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.[86] 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.

A cultivator pulled by a tractor in Montreal in 1943

Farm equipment

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.[85] 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.[10]


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,[81] Rosthern Experimental Station,[82] and Bell Farm.[83] From 1914 to 1922, the Better Farming Train travelled around rural of Saskatchewan areas educating pioneer farmers.[84] The 1901 census showed 511,100 farms and the number of farms peaked in 1941 at a record 732,800 farms.[45] 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.

Agricultural Science

Canadian Agriculture Industries
Industry Mainstay
Brewery industry Comprises two large national beer producing companies: Labatt Breweries of Canada and Molson Canada Breweries[53]
Buckwheat industry Buckwheat flour is used for pancake mixes and pasta. Buckwheat is exported mainly to Japan. Majority of this specialty crop grown in Manitoba[54]
Canary seed industry In 2005, Canada produced 77% of the world canary seed production. Saskatchewan soils were conducive to bird seed production.[55]
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.[56]
Dairy industry In the Canadian agri-food economy the dairy industry is the third largest.[57]
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).[58]
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.[59]
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.[60]
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.[61]
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.[62]
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.[63][63][64]
Grains and oilseeds industry Wheat, barley and oats are Canada's grain exports. Canola, soybean and flaxseed are the main oilseed exports.[65]
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[66]
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.[67]
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.[68]
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.[69]
Mustard seed industry Yellow mustard is the highest export, closely followed by brown and oriental mustards. 2007 saw an increase in mustard seed prices.[70]
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.[71]
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.[72]
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.[73]
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.[64]
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.[74]
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.[75]
Seed industry Seed growers, field inspectors, registered seed establishments, seed trial plots, and seed retailers are the mainstays of seed production.[76]
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.[77]
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.[78]
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.[79]
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.[80]

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, these are the classifications of Canadian Agriculture Industries.

Industry categories


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