Only 336 days to go!

That’s our count down to the kick off of the 2011 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ annual congress.

In case you’re wondering why I’m interested – I’m co-chair of this event and we’re going to be hosting it in Canada, Guelph and Niagara Falls to be exact, for the first time in over 40 years!

As part of our marketing efforts, my colleagues Kelly Daynard and Sarah Andrewes, Chairs of the Registration and Promotions committees respectively, have launched a monthly newsletter about the event full of great info, facts and tidbits about Canadian food and farming.

If you’re a farm writer, ag communicator or food and farming PR professional, sign up for our updates – our congress is sure to have something of value to offer everyone!

Ok, commercial over. What I really wanted to share with you today are some facts about Canadian farming – they were part of this newsletter I just mentioned. Some you’ll no doubt be familiar with and others will be new to you (as some were to me too).

Did you know…

  • How many farms there are in Canada? Approximately 229,000 farms covering 167
    million acres (67.5 million hectares). That’s nearly twice the size of Finland or Japan and about the same
    size as France, but represents only about five per cent of the total land mass of Canada.
  • Who are Canada’s farmers are? According to the 2006 Canadian Census of Agriculture, approximately 684,000 Canadians live on farms (two per cent of our total population of 31.5 million people). About 327,000 of these people are considered farm operators, which mean they have responsibility for managing their farm businesses. The majority of farm operators are men (72 per cent) and half of them are 35 to 54 years old. And, while Canada as a whole has a growing immigrant population, 90 per cent of our farmers were born in Canada.
  • the average farm size in Canada? It’s 728 acres, 11 times smaller than in Australia.
  • what’s grown under glass? Canada’s greenhouses grow tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and flowers on 239.3 million square feet under glass.
  • who the largest producer of maple syrup is? There are 34.7 million maple taps in maple trees in the province of Quebec alone, making it the world’s largest producer of maple syrup.
  • what Canadian farmers produce? Canada is a field-crop country. Nearly 40 per cent of all Canadian farms grow some type of field crop such as wheat, barley, hay and canola. The next most common type is beef farms, comprising 26.6 percent of all farms. Canadian farmers produce dairy, eggs, chicken and turkeys for domestic consumption
    under a system called supply management. There are also hog, goat and sheep farms, apiaries, potato,
    corn, vegetable, tender fruit, wine grape, tobacco, mushroom, flower and Christmas tree growers, just to
    name a few.
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