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Census of Agriculture – What will the data tell us?

Posted on February 08 2017 | Author: Emily Hartwig

In order to develop effective and successful polices, regulators require extensive and highly detailed data. In the case of the Canadian agricultural policy, federal and provincial regulators rely on the statistical portrait created by the Census of Agriculture every 5 years. The goal of the census is to collect a comprehensive data set of Canadian farms and agricultural operators, including information covering major commodities, livestock, finances and new technologies.

Why the Census?

The Census of Agriculture data is collected on an individual basis and allows for a comprehensive view into the attributes and nuances that are unique to each farm community across Canada. The importance of the census cannot be overstated. The data is collected directly from those who will be most impacted by any resulting regulatory changes and thus enables industry to influence change and help shape the future of Canadian agriculture. As a result, all members of the agriculture community have the potential to benefit: farm operators will be able to formulate production, marketing and investment decisions; producer groups will be made aware of new industry trends and developments, and governments will be able to develop efficient and effective policies concerning agriculture.  

                             

 

New industries, new questions.

While every census includes certain basic questions, the most recent Census of Agriculture included questions pertaining to several new interest areas: the adoption of technology, direct marketing, on-farm practices and land features, land inputs, and renewable energy systems. These new sections of the census were added to reflect the ever-evolving nature of the agricultural industry as well as how farmers and agricultural operators are adapting. One can safely assume that any new policy introduced as a result of the census may include information pertaining to these new interest areas in Canadian agriculture.

With the rise of agri-technology, such as drones and precision agriculture, those affiliated with the agriculture industry will have a better insight into the long awaited structured and well-defined regulations.

The areas of conservation and sustainability efforts will likely begin to see these practices incorporated into regulation. Sustainable practices are not novel across the Canadian agricultural landscape but have become a hot topic as of late, and with its inclusion in the census, federal and provincial governments are starting to take note.

Questions regarding renewable energy systems also appeared in the census, and industry players may benefit from the data, encouraging the growth of sustainable business models and development of efficient market strategies.

The 2016 Census of Agriculture will begin to be released to the public May 10, 2017. 

 

Emily Hartwig
Analyst

Source: Statistics Canada – Census of Agriculture

Photo Credit: Static Pexels






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Sustainability and the Start-Up: The Value of Implementing Sustainable Measures into Your Business Plan

Posted on December 09 2015 | Author: Emily Hartwig

This month, France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main objective of the Convention is to create a new international agreement on climate change – a major focus of which will be sustainability and creating a sustainable future for our global economy. You might be wondering, “What does sustainability have to do with my business?” and “is incorporating sustainability really worth it during this development stage of my company?”

Traditionally in business, a company’s bottom line includes profits, return on investment and shareholder value. In today’s market exists John Elkington’s business theory: the Triple Bottom Line. This hybrid of traditional and modern ideals is an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance into a company’s business plan: environmental, social and financial. Sustainability planning allows companies to incorporate various tactics to elevate their influence and impact on these three dimensions of performance, and ultimately, accelerate their business. 

Ellen Kappes, an MBA focused on sustainability in business, details the benefits of sustainability planning for start-ups and small businesses:

“Sustainability concepts naturally align with the core values of most entrepreneurs and therefore can easily be embedded in a start up business”. Sustainable measures can include energy reduction planning by means of energy efficient devices, and waste diversion by means of recycling and composting programs. Both of these initiatives create cost savings, a core value among entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“Engagement at the early stages of a business will build a culture and competitive position that will be harder to create later on”. Enacting a sustainability plan in your early stages of development will reduce costs incurred as a result of potential future government mandates for these types of programs such as water use reductions and pollution prevention measures.

“Formalizing sustainability goals early on will ensure that you make good on your intentions and will force you to build organizational capacity”. Not only will incorporating sustainability in your business produce financial savings, but they will enhance your public image as well. Sustainable planning will improve your company profile and reduce the risk of negative public opinion. A company that exhibits social responsibility will garner customer loyalty and retention, which are highly valuable traits to financial inventors when you wish to expand your company.

“Time spent identifying sustainable solutions fosters creativity and innovation”. Sustainable planning initiatives will foster creative thinking, and creative thinking will result in an overall revolutionary business!

Emily Hartwig
Regulatory & Sustainability Assistant

Photo Credit: GreenBiz






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