Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary By Rejean Pommainville, OFA Director
Canada’s 2016 Census of Agriculture is fast approaching. In early May, farmers will have the opportunity to participate in an important data-collection exercise that will provide insight into Canadian agriculture.
Conducted every five years, the census provides a historical record on Canadian agriculture and shows trends in the industry. It’s used by governments when making public policy decisions. The census also provides information on emerging issues, opportunities and challenges within the agricultural community. Farm organizations like the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) rely on census data to make informed policy recommendations and showcase the contributions farmers make.
Regional, provincial and federal government policy advisors also use Census of Agriculture data to help develop programs and initiatives aimed at encouraging agricultural economic development.
This year Canadian farmers can save time by filling out the census online. All farm operators will be mailed a letter in early May with instructions to complete the online questionnaire.
Anyone who is responsible for, or knowledgeable about, the day-to-day management decisions of your farming operation can complete the census. Census questions cover a wide range of topics, such as land use, crops, livestock, agricultural labour, machinery and equipment, land management practices, and farm finances.
The questionnaire also includes new questions on the adoption of technologies, direct marketing, succession planning and renewable energy production.
In the 2016 census, operators are no longer required to provide detailed farm expenses and other information like residence, details on irrigated land, and the source and use of manure.
OFA is encouraging all members to complete this year’s Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada keeps your personal information confidential and publically releases tabulated information only. Accurate and complete information is vital. Farmers must stand up to be counted so our voices can be heard.