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Census of Agriculture: Complete it today

As farm families are getting ready for the upcoming growing season across the country, members of the Canadian agriculture sector should keep an eye out for the Census of Agriculture in May. Taking place every five years and covering over 200,000 respondents, the Census of Agriculture provides a comprehensive picture of our country’s farm sector.

Although spring is a critical time for farming operations, farmers’ input through the Census of Agriculture is invaluable; the data informs governments and producers about the state of the sector, while also influencing decisions on issues that are important to farming communities across the country.

For example, operators use the results to guide their production, marketing and investment decisions for their own farms. Government policy advisors use the data to make informed decisions regarding programs and policies that support the agriculture sector.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s data will be of special interest and value. Farmers, agri-food businesses and  industry organizations will build some of their future decisions based on how farmers’ adjustments made due to COVID-19 have impacted the sector, as a whole. 

The census questionnaire asks farm operators to provide information on their land use, crops, livestock, agricultural labour, machinery and equipment, land management practices, and farm finances. While most questions are the same as in 2016, new content has been added in the 2021 questionnaire. Changes include new commodity categories for emerging areas in livestock and crops (e.g., hemp, garlic, ducks), and changes to questions related to renewable energy, technology adoption, direct marketing and succession planning.

To streamline the response process, the electronic questionnaire now includes an automated calculator for adding data inputs, and now asks only questions that apply specifically to each operator’s farm. 

As a farmer, you should expect a letter in the mail at the beginning of May, with instructions on how to complete the questionnaire. You will have the opportunity to complete it anytime from May to the end of August, either online or by telephone, with a paper questionnaire option also available upon request. 

Completing the Census of Agriculture online is quick and easy:

Census of Agriculture: Coming in May

How is data from the Census of Agriculture used?

  • Helps operators and industry organizations make business decisions, as well as help media provide accurate information on the industry.
  • Helps companies supplying agricultural products and services determine locations for their service centres.
  • Helps governments and farm organizations evaluate the impact of natural disasters on agriculture (such as floods, drought and storms) and react appropriately in developing support programs.
  • Helps agriculture and industry websites target their information based on current trends and needs.

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