Farming In Canada – How To Start, FAQs

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Introduction to How To Start Farming in Canada: Agriculture in Canada is the most sophisticated and technologically advanced in the world. Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world, and agriculture in Canada was substantively transformed in the past century. Agricultural production in Canada increased considerably. As with other developed nations, the proportion of the population remains an important element of the Canadian economy. A wide range of agricultural farming is practiced in Canada, from sprawling wheat fields of the prairies to summer produce of the Okanagan Valley. In the federal government, the overview of farming in Canada is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Several factors affect the socio-economic characteristics of the Canadian agriculture sector.

A Guide on How To Start Farming in Canada and Frequently Asked Questions

How To Start Farming in Canada
Canola Farming in Canada (Image source: pixabay

Canada’s Agricultural Industry;

  • It ensures food security and supply chain stability in Canada
  • It provides a global food supply at reasonable prices for those in need
  • Critical for the livelihoods of Canadian farmers, millions of related jobs, and the economy
  • It encourages the mainstreaming of adaptation planning in Canada and elsewhere
  • Ensures that agriculture in Canada is resilient to climate change
  • Canadian population and global populations expand, demand for Canadian agricultural products will likely increase
  • As the world increasingly looks to renewable energy, fiber, chemicals, and other agricultural products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Canada is in a unique position to lead in growth in these regions

The 5th largest agricultural exporter in the world is Canada. It is the world’s largest grower and exporter of flaxseed, canola, and pulses.

Climate Conditions for Framing in Canada

Canada is associated with cold weather and snow, but in reality, its climate is as diverse as its landscape. However, daytime summer temperature levels can rise to 35°C and higher, while lows of -25°C are not uncommon in the winter season. More moderate temperature levels are the norm in spring and fall.

The summer season can be hot and dry on the prairies, milder on the coasts, and humid in central Canada. Spring is pleasant across the country. Autumns are crisp and cool but brightened by rich orange and red color leaves on trees. Generally, winters are cold with periods of snow, and winters are mild and wet on the west coast in cities like Vancouver and Victoria.

Climate change affects farms, and heat and drought can negatively impact crops and livestock. At the same time, farming produces greenhouse gases (e.g., from tractors and livestock) that contribute to climate change effects. Canadian farmers have reduced their carbon emissions substantially over the last 3 decades. Their contribution, including other greenhouse gases, has remained steady in the 21st century.

Information about Farming in Canada

Strawberry Farming In Canada
Strawberries Field (Image source: pixabay)
  • The agriculture sector is the most important of the industries dealing with the biological resources of Canada. Agriculture and the allied agri-food industry are responsible for about 2 and 6% of the GDP (Gross National Product) and about 14% of Canada’s employment.
  • The agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada benefits from an abundant natural resource supply.
  • In Canada, the fruit and vegetable industry is an important part of the agriculture and food distribution sectors of the economy.
  • Canadian-grown fruit is marketed as fresh or processed in several ways. For example, while most apples and “tender” fruits like cherries, peaches, pears, plums, and prunes are sold fresh, a good proportion is processed into juice, sauce, pie filling, frozen slices, and other products.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture broke down into five main “production sectors” of Canadian agriculture based on cash receipts;

  • grains and oilseeds – 34%
  • red meats – livestock –  24%
  • dairy – 12%
  • horticulture – 9%
  • poultry and eggs – 8%

Horticulture crops, including nurseries, flowers, and fruits, became easier to grow with the development of plant hardiness zones. Some important fruits like Apples, Pears, Plums and Prunes, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Loganberries, and fruit orchards are numerous and then reach a commercial size in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Niagara Peninsula, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Norfolk County of Ontario and Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

The nation’s main crops are Wheat, Barley, Corn, Potatoes, Soybeans, Rice, and Sugar Beets. The dominant crop is wheat.

In case you miss this: How To Grow Vegetables In Summer.

Wheat Farming In Canada
Wheat Field (Image source: pixabay)

One of the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian agriculture sector is organic products (food grown naturally and without pesticides and sold without preservatives or additives). The organic food industry has been growing at about 20% per year. Now, there are about 1,500 registered organic food producers in Canada. Organic production is strongest in the western areas of Canada, and there are also many specialty farms. Specialized crop products include herbs and spices like Garlic, Ginseng, and Coriander, cut flowers such as Roses or Lilies, and Tobacco. While fishing remains a prominent part of the economy of some provinces, the depletion of fish stocks caused by overfishing has led to major declines in fish production.

Crop yield changes are the most readily available measures of productivity gains in agriculture in Canada. Despite long-term declines in accurate crop prices, the output of the crops sector has increased through productivity improvements evidenced in rising crop yields. However, changes in technology have contributed to this productivity improvement. Agriculture in Canada is varied, and most of it is still traditional animal and crop production for food. Canada now has a substantial amount of aquaculture, and it is the cultivation of fish and other species that live in water. Another type of agriculture system is called protected cultivation. Some farmers rear animals for fur or grow crops for various uses, like fiber for composite building materials. Some Canadian food production is organic. This means livestock and crops are produced under audited conditions relating to crop protection products or livestock access to the outdoors.

Limiting Factors for Agriculture in Canada

All crops are grown in Canada (except greenhouse crops and cultured mushroom crops), and climate conditions and soil factors strongly constrain all potential new crops. Of course, length of season, distribution of temperature level and precipitation, soil fertility, and physical aspects of land are universal determinants of what crops can be grown. Land use inventories that assess the land suitability for agriculture, forestry, recreation, and wildlife have been used for several decades. For example, the soil regions of Western Canada differ in their capacity to cultivate crops. The brown soil in the semi-arid region of the Prairies changes considerably from year to year in crop yield depending on the degree of drought, while dark brown soil is not as vulnerable to drought. The black soil retains moisture better compared to the brown soil, is rarely subject to drought, and produces higher yields. The gray soil zone has higher moisture levels, cooler temperatures, and a shorter growing season. Some management practices in the different zones are necessary since climatic conditions influence the susceptibility of crops to disease and pest infestation.

Generally, knowledge of three factors can produce an excellent identification of what crop must be grown, where, and when. Firstly, an agricultural knowledge of the crop growth requirements is necessary. Second, measures of the comparative extent to which local soil, climate conditions, and pests and diseases match the needs of the crops. After that, predictions of markets for the crops, both domestic and foreign, were made.

Challenges and Progress in Canadian Agriculture

Canadian farmers are under pressure to produce more food, and they should do this while caring for the livestock, land, and water on their farms. Some regions in which farmers face challenges include crop protection, soil conservation, labor, climate change, and health.

Crop rotation – Each crop needs a different set of nutrients from the soil, so farmers develop a crop rotation that allows them to maximize nutrient use and return to the soil. Also, crop rotation benefits the soil in some other ways, and changing the type of roots in the soil each year will benefit soil structure. Also, fertilizer use can be reduced as crops add nutrients back to the soil, which crops in a subsequent year can use. Some insects and diseases that target field crops can live in the soil over the winter season. Many insects and diseases target specific crops; rotating the crops allows for a natural method of protecting against pests, reducing the amount of pesticide needed.

Cropping Seasons – Most crops are planted during the spring and harvested during the fall season. Wheat can be planted in either spring or fall and harvested during the summer. Hayfields are harvested multiple times yearly and grow hay for 3 to 4 years. Spring planting season is started in late April or early May in most years, once the threat of frost is minimized.

Canada’s forest industry has to struggle against the threats of fire, insects, and disease. Some control of insects has been achieved through the aerial spraying of insecticides, but this practice eradicates insect-eating birds and predator insects. Because forests have significant value in maintaining an ecological balance in the environment and then provide important recreational opportunities, the forest industry is increasingly held to account for environmentally damaging practices.

Usually, Canada is a unique country with a large land base and plentiful water resources. Canada is experiencing water shortages and some issues related to water quality. Then, most of Canada’s population resides in the south, while most of Canada’s water supplies flow northward. Increasing competition is mostly occurring for available water resources. The agriculture sector is affected by climate and available water resources, and it is a dominant economic player in most southern regions. Droughts are of particular concern to dryland and irrigated agricultural farming in semi-arid regions.

Crops Growing Season in Canada

Canada lies in the North Temperate Zone, and all its prairie farmland is north of the 49th parallel of latitude. Late spring frosts can occur after that date, but the probability is not great. Early fall frosts occur in September; therefore, the frost-free period is 100 to 120 days. Usually, Canadian summers are quite warm, with temperatures often reaching over 30°C. These temperature levels, coupled with adequate sunshine, make crop growth rapid. Though, as the climate is continental, much of the farmland of Canada suffers from a lack of moisture.

Canadian agriculture and rural citizens rely on having access to sufficient quantities of good quality water for different needs. As an industry, agriculture has the potential to impact natural water resources negatively. Negative impacts can affect both the environment and human health. Agricultural productions adopt practices that protect, enhance, and improve water for its economic interests and, simultaneously, for the diversity of societal and environmental needs.

Agriculture Sector and Environmental Leadership in Canada

Canadian agricultural producers are already some of the most sustainable producers in the world, with innovations and best practices voluntarily in place on several farms. These include;

  • No-till farming
  • Bio-digesters
  • Nitrogen emission reduction protocols
  • Supply chain sustainability schemes
  • Environmental Farm Plans to find environmental risk.

Increases in efficiency and new technology have encouraged Canadian agriculture producers to make substantial improvements. Canadian Agriculture advocacy promotes public and governmental support for farmers in the following ways;

  • Identify the role of farmers in environmental stewardship
  • Support for climate effects and tools to foster resiliency and adaptation
  • Also, ensure the continuing competitiveness of Canadian agricultural products in a world market.
  • Encourage investments that support improvement in sustainable Canadian agricultural production
  • Farming in Canada is an integral part of the Canadian community and economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of families nationwide.

With the growing global demand for food and Agri products increasing each year, the Canadian government continues to support agriculture sustainability, innovation, and growth in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions about Farming in Canada

Is agriculture a good career in Canada?

Agriculture jobs in Canada mean competitive salaries. Careers across the agricultural sectors offer competitive salaries in other industries, meaning you can have a great lifestyle while still earning a great salary.

What is the main agriculture in Canada?

Major Field crops cultivated in Canada include Wheat, Canola, Barley, Corn, and Soybeans. Some other field crops include rye, oats, white beans, and mixed grains. Several specialty crops are limited to a small area of land. These farmers are called “cash crop” farmers and many livestock farmers also grow crops. Crops are grown change depending on the specific growing abilities of each region and the farmers’ needs.

How much of Canada’s land is agricultural?

Total cropland in Canada now stands at almost 89 million acres, or about 53.1% of all land.

Is agriculture in demand in Canada?

Overall, labor demand for Canada’s primary farming sector is expected to grow by an average of 0.5% per year over the forecast period.

Is agriculture big in Canada?

Yes, agriculture is big in Canada because it is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world.

Which fruits are grown in Canada?

You may also check this: Dairy Farming In Canada.

Apple Farming in Canada
Apple Field (Image source: pixabay)

The fruits belonging to the Rose family are cultivated in Canada, and they include Apples, Pears, Nectarines, Plums, Peaches, Prunes, Cherries, and Apricots, as well as berries such as Strawberries, Raspberries, Cranberries, and Blueberries. Fruit cultivation is an important part of Canada’s food industry. Growing is restricted to areas where winter temperatures are below -20°C. Most fruit cultivation occurs in British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec.

Other important fruit families are Saxifragaceae (currants and gooseberries) and Vitaceae (grapes). Each fruit type has many cultivars (commercial varieties) developed for various characteristics. For example, in Canada, adaptation to specific climatic factors like cold winters is important. Breeding and selection programs prioritize these requirements, while crop research programs have developed several cultivars.

Does cotton grow in Canada?

Canada has a lot of water and rich soil, suitable for growing cotton. Cotton will only grow in temperate climate conditions. It is a slow-growing crop that needs enough good days of the right climate conditions to produce a good cotton crop.

Why is milk expensive in Canada?

Canadian milk and cheese come from smaller farms, and the use of hormones on cows to increase milk production is not allowed as it is in the US. Then that makes it more expensive to produce. Canada has marketing boards to enable prices to be kept higher and also provide an adequate living for dairy farmers.

What is Canada’s biggest crop?

The main crop grown with the largest acreage in Canada is wheat, followed by canola. Corn and wheat are widely grown across Canada.

What vegetables grow in Canada?

Different vegetables like Carrots, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sweet Corn, Cabbages, and Broccoli are field-grown vegetables in Canada.

What are the different types of crops in Canada?

Crops can be classified in different ways, and they are annual, biennial, or perennial crops depending on whether they complete their life cycle in one or two years or persist for over 2 years. The special term “winter annuals” is used for crops that are planted and germinate in the fall season, spend winter in a dormant state, renew growth in spring, and are harvested in July or August.

A more useful classification of different crops, based on general trade use, divides them into cereal crops, forages, oilseeds, orchard crops, berries, vegetables, and special crops. Cereals are plants grown for the mature seeds they produce, like Wheat, Oats, Barley, Rye, and Corn. Forage crops are grown for animal fodder. They can be harvested and stored until used or grazed as a pasture or range crop (e.g., grasses such as timothy or legumes such as clover and alfalfa).

When cereal crops like corn are harvested as whole plants, chopped, and fed to animals, the crop is classed as a forage or fodder crop. Oilseed crops are grown for their oil-bearing seeds (e.g., soybeans, sunflowers, flax, and canola). Orchard crops are edible fruits or nuts like apples, peaches, pears, and walnuts. Berries are small, fleshy fruits grown on a vine or small shrubs like Strawberries, Raspberries, Currants, Blueberries, and Grapes. Vegetables include carrots, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, which are herbaceous plants of which all or a part is eaten, raw or cooked. Usually, Potatoes are classed as a trade vegetable but are also considered a field crop when hectares are large.

What are the agriculture and irrigation techniques used in Canada?

Canadian agricultural operations mainly use 3 types of irrigation, including sprinkler irrigation, micro-irrigation, and surface irrigation. The irrigation technique used depends on several factors, including the crop type, the type and quality of water supply, and soil and climatic conditions, which can vary considerably from one part of the country to the other. Farm operations most used sprinkler irrigation methods to irrigate their crops, with the majority of these farms being in the West. Farms in British Columbia and Alberta accounted for about 80% of all the farms reporting this irrigation system.

What are the pulse crops in Canada?

Canada is the world’s largest exporter of pulses like Beans, Peas, Chickpeas, and Lentils. Pulse crops contain nutrients in vegetable and meat food groups, including significant protein, fiber, folate, iron, and minerals.

How much water goes to agriculture in Canada?

For agricultural purposes, total water usage was estimated at 2.34 million dam3 annually. Supplementary irrigation is the largest water user within agriculture, claiming about 86% of the total use, followed by livestock water use, which accounts for 10% of the total.

What type of soil does Canada have?

The four main soil orders associated with forested landscapes throughout Canada are Organic, Luvisolic, Brunisolic, and Podzolic.

What are the farming regions of Canada?

Most of Canada’s crop farming occurs in the Prairie Provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In these, Alberta has the most beef cattle operations of any province. Saskatchewan mainly produces the most durum wheat, canola, and lentils. Finally, Manitoba has the most pig farms and also involves secondly potato farming. In British Columbia, farmers produce large amounts of fruit, vegetable crops, aquaculture products, eggs, and poultry meat. Also, that province has the largest number of grape growers.

Ontario has the most poultry farms of any province, and also it involves pig and dairy farms. Also, Ontario farmers produce the most corn and apples in Canada. In Canada, Quebec is the largest producer of blueberries and has the largest number of dairy farms and cows. Potatoes are a popular crop in this Atlantic Canada region. Also, there are several large food product manufacturers in Atlantic Canada.

Where is the best farmland in Canada?

Usually, more than 52% of Canada’s best farmland is located in southern Ontario, where population growth is highest.

What is Canada’s largest export crop?                                        

Canada’s largest crop is Wheat, the biggest export earner of all our agricultural products.

The most popular fruits in Canada are Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Melons, Peaches, Cherries, and Pears.

The most popular vegetables in Canada are Lettuce, dry and Green Onions, and Tomatoes. Kohlrabi, Spinach, Parsnips, and Brussels sprouts are also gaining popularity. Quebec’s top five favorite vegetables are Onions, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Lettuce.

Why does Canada Statistics conduct the Census of Agriculture?

The Census of Agriculture collects a wide range of data on the agriculture sector, such as the number of farms and farm operators, farm area, business operating arrangements, land management practices, livestock, farm capital, and machinery and equipment. This data provides comprehensive data on agriculture across Canada every five years at the national, provincial, and sub-provincial levels.

What are the Diseases and Pests of Vegetable Crops in Canada?

Some infectious and non-infectious diseases like insect, mite, nematode, mollusc, and weed pests of vegetable crops, including Asparagus, Bean, Beet, Carrot, Celery, Corn, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginseng, Herbs and Spices, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onion, Pea, Potato, Tomato, and other crops.

What are the inherent threats to Canada’s farming industry?

These threats include transportation interruptions, increased energy costs, and trade disputes, in addition to our perennial issues of invasive pests and volatile weather.

Is Chicken production profitable in Canada?

Chickens are the most farmed poultry birds in Canada, and it is also a profitable business. The total number of meat and egg-laying chickens in Canada is approximately 145.5 million. Chickens raised for meat are called broiler chickens, and there are over 2,000 broiler chicken farms across Canada.

Does Canada import eggs?

Usually, eggs and processed egg products are one of the many agricultural commodities subject to controls under Canada’s EIPA (Export and Imports Permit Act). Therefore, an import permit is required to import eggs and processed egg products to Canada.

Where is poultry produced in Canada?

The production of chickens and turkeys occurs in over 50 federally inspected plants, predominantly in Ontario and Quebec. There are over 30 in these two provinces alone.

How are chickens treated in Canada?

Broiler chickens are raised in large barns with artificially controlled lighting and ventilation. Unlike egg-laying hens, chickens raised mainly for meat in Canada are never housed in cages. In other words, all broiler chickens in Canada are cage-free and free-run.

Is chicken in Canada antibiotic-free?

Canadian chicken is free of antibiotic residues. Canada has strict regulations for antibiotic use and withdrawal times to ensure that chicken reaching the marketplace does not have residues, which the Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors.

Is dairy farming profitable in Canada?

Dairy farming in Canada is one of the largest agricultural sectors. Dairy farmers in Canada follow regulations outlined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure proper oversight of dairy products to ensure biosecurity standards are maintained in environmental protection, human health, and animal health.

How do I become a dairy farmer in Canada?

Eligible applicants should be Canadian-licensed cow’s milk producers. Applicants should own a valid dairy license stating the production and then register with a provincial milk marketing board. To verify eligibility, applicants will be asked to provide information on their dairy license and production quota.

Where are most dairy farms in Canada?

In Canada, about 98% of dairy farms are family-owned and operated. Dairy farms can be found in each province across Canada, with a large concentration of about 81% in Ontario and Quebec, 13% in the Western provinces, and 6% in the Atlantic Provinces. However, the average Canadian dairy farm milks approximately 73 cows.

What are profitable specialty crops for Canadian farmers?

The profitable specialty crops for Canadian farmers are Gourmet Mushrooms, Garlic, and Herbs.

Is fish farming profitable in Canada?

The combination of raising tilapia fish and hydroponic plant growth can offer a profitable business for Canadian farmers. There are some major equipment and structural investments that are required to establish a commercial tilapia farm business.

What fish are farmed in Canada?

The main fish species farmed in Canada is led salmon, with 70.5% of all fish in aquaculture, followed by mussels with 15.1%.

What types of fish are in Canada?

Different types of fish you will find in Canada are Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Northern Pike, Black Crappie, Silver Redhorse, Pumpkinseed, Bowfin, and Largemouth Bass.

How many types of fish are in Canada?

Approximately 1,200 native fish species in about 195 families live in Canadian waters. Of this number, about 990 are confined to marine waters such as the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans. Several fish species are diadromous, meaning they spend part of their life in the ocean and part in freshwater.

The popular variety of fish among Canadians is salmon, with two-thirds of consumers eating salmon at home in the past 6 months.

What kind of sheep are in Canada?

In Canada, Suffolk sheep are popular around the world as meat producers. They have clean black color faces.


If you live in Canada, this article may help you understand of basics of starting an agricultural farm from scratch.


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