This week, I thought we would take a look at what Chatham-Kent producers grow, and where they stand in relation to the rest of Ontario.
The following numbers and statistics are taken from the 2010 Census of Agriculture and Economic Development Policy Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In Chatham-Kent, there are 2,049 farms, which account for 3.94% of Ontario’s total farms. This is down from the 2,196 farms in the 2006 census.
Of the total areas in Ontario grown to crops, Chatham-Kent accounts for 5.76% of the province’s total.
Greenhouses in Chatham-Kent now accounts for 5.43% of Ontario’s total greenhouse area.
In terms of actual farms, Chatham-Kent has 8 dairy farms (0.20% of Ontario’s total), 45 beef farms (0.63%), 40 hog farms (3.24%), 14 sheep and goat farms (0.97%), 18 poultry and egg farms (1.11%), 64 other animal farms (0.92%), 1,601 oilseed and grain farms (10.12%), 126 vegetable farms (8.23%), 21 fruit and nut farms (1.36%), 50 greenhouse and nursery farms (2.11%) and 62 other crop farms (0.75%).
In regards to field crops, Chatham-Kent growers account for 1.38% of Ontario’s winter wheat crop, 1.28% of corn, 3.12% of soybeans, 0.13% of potatoes, 1.35% of hay, and 1.11% of oats.
For fruit crops, Chatham-Kent accounts for 1.62% of Ontario’s total apple acreage, 3.45% of peaches, 4.75% of sour cherries, 2.19% of raspberries, 2.33% of strawberries, and 0.36% of grapes. Of the total fruit crops in Ontario, Chatham-Kent accounts for 1.74% of total acreage.
For vegetable crops, Chatham-Kent producers account for 55% of Ontario’s tomatoes, 33% of green peas, 20% of green or wax beans and 15% of sweet corn. Of the total vegetable crops in Ontario, Chatham-Kent accounts for 21.59% of total acreage.
Farm cash receipts (the gross amount of money a farmer receives prior to expenses being accounted for) include $100.3 million for soybeans, $87.4 million for corn, $67.8 million for field vegetables, $36.4 million for hogs, $32.9 million for greenhouse vegetables, $24.9 million for wheat, $17.3 million for eggs, and $9.6 million for cattle.
We have a local agricultural sector we should be proud of. We need to support our local production all year round where possible. There is a publication called “Your Guide to Buying Local Buying Fresh” sponsored in part by many Chatham-Kent community partners and available at any of our municipal centers.
I would urge you to pick up a copy of this brochure, which lists many of the local meats, fruits, vegetables, poultry/eggs, other foods, flowers/shrubs, maple syrup, and honey that is grown and sold locally. What better way to help our community’s producers than by purchasing their fine products.
Think about this – Being a servant to others is one pathway to real significance.
Just some food for thought.