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The Facts About Conventional and Organic Agriculture

All farmers in Canada make choices about how they will produce the food they are growing. All food produced in Canada meets high standards for safety and health set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada. Both conventional and organic farmers look for ways to produce food in an environmentally sustainable way.

Conventional Agriculture 

Over 98 per cent of farms in Canada farm conventionally. This means that they may choose to use tools and technology such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics or biotechnology. As with organic agriculture, producers look for ways to reduce environmental impact, ensure their animals are healthy and improve soil quality.

Organic Agriculture

1.8 per cent of farms in Canada are certified organic. To be certified as organic, farmers must meet specific regulations and be verified by an accredited organization.81 Those who farm organically have a list of permitted substances they may use in production but they do not use tools and technology such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics or biotechnology.

Provincial Overview

British Columbia
Number of Census Farms: 19,759
Average Farm Size: 327
Total Area of Farms: 6,452,867 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 29,925
Farm Receipts: $2.9 billion
Alberta
Number of Census Farms: 43,234
Average Farm Size: 1168
Total Area of Farms: 50,498,834 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 62,050
Farm Receipts: $11.4 billion
Saskatchewan
Number of Census Farms: 36,952
Average Farm Size: 1668
Total Area of Farms: 61,628,148 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 49,475
Farm Receipts: $9.4 billion
Manitoba
Number of Census Farms: 15,877
Average Farm Size: 1135
Total Area of Farms: 18,023,472 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 22,315
Farm Receipts: $5.3 billion
Ontario
Number of Census Farms: 51,950
Average Farm Size: 244
Total Area of Farms: 12,688,236 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 74,840
Farm Receipts: $11.9 billion
Quebec
Number of Census Farms: 29,437
Average Farm Size: 280
Total Area of Farms: 8,256,614 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 43,920
Farm Receipts: $8.4 billion
New Brunswick
Number of Census Farms: 2,611
Average Farm Size: 359
Total Area of Farms: 937,829 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 3,470
Farm Receipts: $552.8 million
Nova Scotia
Number of Census Farms: 3,905
Average Farm Size: 261
Total Area of Farms: 1,018 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 5,225
Farm Receipts: $594.9 million
Prince Edward Island
Number of Census Farms: 1,495
Average Farm Size: 398
Total Area of Farms: 594,324 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 2,045
Farm Receipts: $447.4 million
Newfoundland
Number of Census Farms: 510
Average Farm Size: 152
Total Area of Farms: 77,349 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 665
Farm Receipts: $137.6 million
Canada
Number of Census Farms: 205,730
Average Farm Size: 778
Total Area of Farms: 160,155,748 acres
Total Farm Operators per Province: 293,930
Farm Receipts: $51.1 billion