2 farmers looking at a tablet computer while standing in a field

3 Unknown Facts About Modern Farmers

Fact: Modern Farmers tend to be older. 

According to the 2011 census, for the first time in the history of Canada, the largest percentage of farm operators is aged 55 and older (48.3 per cent). This is an increase from 2006 when this age group represented 40.7 per cent of farm operators.64 Over the past 20 years, the demographics of farmers have changed and the number of farmers under the age of 35 has decreased substantially. 65

Fact: Multiple-generation farms have a higher gross farm income.

There are some farms where an individual under the age of 35 is working alongside an older farm operator. The 2011 census shows that farms with these multi-generation partnerships tend to have a higher gross farm income than those with farm operators only under 35 or only over 35.

Average gross farm receipts for younger operators, Canada, 2010
Farm Category Average Gross Farm Receipts

Farms with all operators under 35 years

$204,558

Farms with operators under 35 alongside older operators

$450,485

Farms with all operators over 35 years

$240,027

All farms

$248,199

Fact: Most farmers today have post secondary degrees and diplomas.

Farmers need to make complex decisions that will ensure both economic and environmental sustainability for their farms and the industry as a whole. More farmers are obtaining post secondary degrees and diplomas, which help to give them a foundation of knowledge about the agri-food system.

There are also special courses, conferences, and webinars run by commodity groups and agriculture organizations. Farmers often take advantage of these learning opportunities so they can gain new knowledge and techniques for their businesses.