2016 Farm Direct Industry Census Highlights

  2016 Farm Direct Industry Census Highlights
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 2016 Farm Direct Industry Census Highlights
As reported in the December issue of Field Notes, the 2016 Statistics Canada Census of Agriculture introduced a question about farms selling food directly to consumers.

There are 2,062 farms (five per cent of all farms) in Alberta that offer direct food sales. Of those, approximately 96 per cent sell unprocessed food products (fruits, vegetables, meat cuts, poultry, eggs, maple syrup, honey, etc.), and about 10 per cent sell value-added products (jellies, sausages, wine, cheese, etc.).

Direct Marketing Farms in Alberta
Type of FarmsNumber of FarmsProfitability Ratio*
All farms2,0620.81
Beef cattle ranching and farming5430.85
Animal combination farming2360.80
Hay farming1670.99
Other grain farming1400.79
Other vegetable (except potato)
and melon farming
All other misc. crop farming780.77
Other misc. animal production580.85
Chicken egg production530.90
Oilseed (except soybean) farming390.80
Nursery and tree production300.87
Other food crops grown
under cover
Floriculture production220.62
*operating expenses to gross farm receipts ratio

Alberta (2016 Census of Agriculture)1No. of farms
Farms selling direct to consumer2062
Farms selling unprocessed
agricultural products
Farms selling value-added products197
Farms using farm gate sales,
stands, kiosks, U-pick
Farms using farmers’ markets425
Farms using Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Farms using other methods94

Most farms (85 per cent) sell their products at a farm gate, stand, kiosk or U-pick operation, while about 20 per cent sell at farmers’ markets and six per cent through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Alberta’s direct marketing farms are scattered throughout the province, with the majority located in Census Division 11 which includes Edmonton, and Census Division 6 which includes Calgary.

All farms reported direct marketing yielded higher than average profitability compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumer products through farmers’ markets or CSAs.

Farms using direct marketing also showed a higher average of gross farm receipts to farm area at $442 per acre, compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumers with $349 per acre.

Direct marketing farms also revealed a higher percentage of female operators (38 per cent) than other farms (31 per cent). Additionally, more women operate direct market farms in Alberta than the national average (36 per cent).

The data also revealed that young operators (under 35) are more involved in direct market farming in Alberta — nine per cent compared to eight per cent province-wide in all agriculture operations.

However, farms selling organic products through direct marketing in Alberta is lower than the national average, at only 15 per cent compared to 32.6 per cent nationwide.

Of the 2,062 direct market farms, 35 per cent were new entrants (not reporting in the 2011 Census), with beef cattle farms representing the highest proportion, followed by apiculture and animal combination farming.

One in five direct marketing farms in Alberta is a large farm with sales of $250,000 for more. Among the new entrants, more than two-thirds were small farms with sales less than $50,000, 18 per cent were medium sized and 10 per cent were large, with sales of $250,000 or more.

For a more detailed synopsis of the Alberta information, contact Mimi Lee: mimi.lee@gov.ab.ca, 780-968-3552, or visit Explore Local.

1 All data courtesy Statistics Canada 2016 Census of Agriculture.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Eileen Kotowich.
This information published to the web on January 21, 2018.