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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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