Forget any stereotype you believed about modern farmers and farming in general. Next time you pass a farmer’s field see past the pastures and grazing cows and consider that in 2016, the agriculture and agri-food system generated $111.9 billion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contributed 6.7% of Canada’s total GDP. These staggering numbers mean farmers are contributing to more than just a meal on a table but to the growth of Canada as a nation.
Whether you live in Northumberland County or anywhere in Ontario, consider these unique facts about modern farmers that will leave you with a new found respect for the profession.
4 Need To Know Facts About Modern Farmers
1.They are wise in years.
You may have guessed farming to be a young person’s game but for the first time in history, according to the 2011 Canadian census, 48% of farmers are ages 55 and older. This age bracket has seen an increase since 2006 when the same group represented only 40.7% of farmers. There has also been a substantial decrease in the number of farmers under the age of 35.
If you are a food business owner, this age range can affect how you approach the farmers you deal with. Consider their ways of networking, negotiating, technological habits and more as you continue to build your business. If you are a farmer or food business owner in Northumberland County, consider how the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) can put you in touch with these farmers through their many business services offered.
2. They are tractor and book smart.
Farmers have to make complex decisions with a number of varying factors to make sure their farms run smoothly and provide a profit. More than just profit, their farms need to be economically and environmentally stable. Because of the depth of knowledge this occupation demands, a lot of farmers have post-secondary diplomas/degrees to backup their years of experience on the farm. They are known to take special courses, join conferences, and webinars to gain new knowledge and seize prospective business opportunities. If you partner with a farmer as a supplier, you can tap into their educational background, network and consult to expand your local business.
3. The Future of Farming is Female
It’s great to see the numbers of female farmers is on the rise since 2011. According to a Census of Agriculture done in 2016, the number of female farmers has increased by 28.7% since 2011. In addition, it’s insightful to know if you’re a farmer or food business owner that females make up over one quarter of all farm workers.
It’s also important to acknowledge that although statistics don’t highlight it, women have been farming partners as long as farming has been around - it’s just that they were rarely identified as farmers but instead as farmer’s wives. Now that the numbers are increasing and women are being properly identified as farmers, they are redefining the definition of the word and creating new paths for other women behind them. The number of farms operated solely by women under the age of 35 has jumped 113.3% since 2011.
4. The OAFVC is a Useful Tool For All Farmers
The OAFVC has many different services to help all types of farmers reach their goals. Some include:
- Aiding in food production, processing and packaging
- Advice on how to turn your food passion into a business
- Training to use equipment in a commercial kitchen
- Business services to seek funding, create business plans, group training sessions and more
Have you gained a new perspective on modern farmers? No longer just for young men, it’s a sector for all ages, genders and education levels than you may have first guessed. Learn more about your local farming and agri-food community with the experts at the OAFVC.
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