Studies paint bright future for Canadian agriculture

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, Ontario – Three recently released studies predict a more robust Canadian agricultural industry in the future. Canada is looking at another bumper year for farm incomes in 2010 thanks to good prices, lower input costs and initiatives such as AgriRecovery that helped Prairie farmers deal with weather disasters, Gerry Ritz, Canadian Agriculture Minister, said.

"It's encouraging to see even higher prices for grains, oilseeds and hogs," he added.

For 2010, Canadian farm incomes are expected to break the record set two years ago, and 2011 is also expected to be a good year for Canadian farmers, according to Farm Income Forecast study. Canadian farm incomes in 2009 were at their second-highest level in two decades, the 2011 Overview stated. For 2010, the average net operating income for Canadian farms is expected to peak to more than $50,000, a 5% increase over 2009 and 31% above the 2005-09 average.

Continued high prices for grains and oilseeds leading to dynamic growth in production and exports are predicted in the Medium Term Outlook for the next 10 years. Cattle and hog prices are expected to increase slightly, offsetting higher feed costs, which will allow for moderate growth in production and exports for the livestock sector.

Findings in the 2011 edition of the Overview reinforce the Farm Income Forecast and the Medium Term Outlook – predictions point to a younger generation of farmers in the future. Farm operations managed by farmers between the ages of 18 and 39 tend to be well distributed across farm types, size and province and are likely to have higher profit margins, a higher share of on-farm family income and earn higher gross farm revenues, according to the Overview.
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