Farm Income, Financial Conditions and Government Assistance Data Book, 2015

Executive summary

The Farm Income, Financial Conditions and Government Assistance Data Book is a compendium of historical data series from several sources compiled into a single, convenient resource of key economic and financial data for the agriculture sector. The information provides a comprehensive view of the situation in primary agriculture and the expenditures that governments are making to ensure a strong and competitive sector. The Data Book also provides valuable information on government assistance to the agriculture and agri-food sector not readily available from other sources.

Information is provided by several organizations within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), as well as by other federal departments. Information in the Data Book is also prepared in consultation with the provincial ministries responsible for agriculture.

The Data Book is divided into four sections. Section A presents information related to farm income while Section B contains information on farm financial conditions. Section C provides data on government expenditures for the agri-food sector and Section D provides information on estimates of support to agriculture. Notes on the methodology are provided at the end of each section. Each edition of the Data Book provides the most up-to-date economic and financial indicators.


Section A - Farm income

  • In 2014, total market receipts from both crop and livestock sources reached $55.7 billion, the highest level over the 10-year period 2005-2014. The increase in market receipts in 2014 was due to the combination of strong crop receipts of $30.0 billion and record livestock receipts of $25.7 billion.
  • Program payments declined to $2.1 billion in 2014 from $2.7 billion a year earlier. In general, high income years since 2008, due to strong market conditions, have reduced the need for program payments.
  • Net cash income in 2014 at $14.2 billion was the highest level reported over 2005-2014, surpassing the previous record of $12.6 billion achieved in 2013. In comparison, the lowest net cash income level over the reference period was $5.9 billion in 2006.
  • Preliminary estimates for 2014 show that on average, the farms with the highest sales are in Newfoundland and Labrador, which reported average operating revenues of $711,844. Saskatchewan farms reported the lowest sales, with average operating revenues of $354,258. Nationally, the average farm reported $415,380 in operating revenues and $343,870 in operating expenses in 2014, for an average net operating income of $71,511. This is a 3% increase from $69,507 in net operating income reported a year earlier.
  • Net operating income by farm type shows considerable variation. Hog farms had the highest average net operating income in 2014 at $284,116, followed by potato farms at $243,953. Hog farm net operating income was up 144% from a year earlier. Grain and oilseed farms were at $85,590, other vegetable and melon farms at $79,902, fruit and tree nut farms at $31,978 and cattle farms at $24,512.

Section B - Farm financial conditions

  • Farms controlled total assets worth $531.5 billion in 2014. Farm real estate, consisting of land and buildings, made up almost three-quarters of farm total assets in 2014.
  • Farmers take on debt to meet short-term financial obligations and to make investments in their farming operations that take advantage of emerging marketing opportunities. In 2014, total farm debt outstanding in Canada stood at $84.4 billion.
  • There were 25 farm bankruptcies in 2014, down from 66 a year earlier. Quebec (14 bankruptcies) reported the highest number of bankruptcies, with over half occurring in that province. The total number of farm bankruptcies in Canada has followed a declining trend since 1999.
  • Farm Credit Canada approved 47,178 new loans in 2014-15. The average size of loan approved by Farm Credit Canada rose to $178,825.
  • There were 1,569 new loans registered under the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) in 2014-15. Almost 3 out of 4 new loans were in Saskatchewan.
  • Farm balance sheets were generally robust in 2013. The average Canadian farm reported $2.8 million in assets and $0.5 million in debt, for an overall net worth of $2.3 million. There was considerable variation by farm type, with the net worth of poultry farms averaging $5.5 million, potato farms $4.4 million, dairy farms $3.4 million, hog farms $2.6 million, grain farms $2.5 million and beef farms $1.7 million.
  • Farms in British Columbia had the highest level of farm assets, at $3.6 million, followed by Alberta at $3.5 million. However, in terms of average net worth, Alberta farms were the highest at $3.0 million, followed by British Columbia at $2.8 million.
  • In the fall of 2015, anhydrous ammonia cost an average of $1,066 per tonne in Ontario, $835 per tonne in Manitoba and $882 per tonne in Saskatchewan. Farmers in Ontario paid about the same price for anhydrous ammonia as farmers in the neighbouring US states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, while farmers in Manitoba paid less than their neighbours in Minnesota and North Dakota.
  • Farmers in Saskatchewan and Ontario faced lower gasoline prices than their counterparts in Manitoba, while diesel prices were lower in the Prairie provinces than in Ontario. Farmers in Ontario and Manitoba paid similar prices for diesel as their United States neighbours, while gasoline prices were highest in Minnesota and North Dakota.
  • Total expenses for farming increased to $50.2 billion in 2014, up 2% from the previous year. Higher costs for livestock purchases, depreciation, interest, machinery operating, cash wages and other expenses were mostly responsible for the increase in expenses, but lower crop and hail insurance, commercial feed and fertilizer expenses offset part of the increase.

Section C - Government expenditures in support of the agri-food sector

  • Total government expenditures in support of the agriculture and agri-food sector fell by 11% in 2014-15 to $5.39 billion. Federal expenditures declined by 11% to $2.70 billion, while provincial expenditures fell by 10% to $2.68 billion.
  • It is estimated that federal expenditures increased in 2015-16 by 1% to $2.73 billion, while provincial expenditures fell by 3% to $2.61 billion. Total expenditures are estimated to have decreased by 1% to $5.34 billion.
  • In 2014-15, federal program payments to producers declined to $0.93 billion. These payments are estimated to have increased to $1.11 billion in 2015-16. During the same two-year period, provincial program payments dropped in 2014-15 to $1.09 billion and then are estimated to have declined to $1.06 billion in 2015-16.
  • In 2014-15, the categories with the highest expenditures were program payments, research and innovation, and safety and control measures. These categories together represented 78% and 53% of federal and provincial expenditures, respectively. However, the share of only research and innovation, and safety and control measures represented 46% at the federal level compared to 16% at the provincial level.

Section D - Estimates of support to agriculture

  • Expressed as a percentage of gross farm receipts, the producer support estimates (PSE) for Canada fell from 11% in 2013 to 9% in 2014.
  • From 2013 to 2014, PSE, expressed as a percentage of gross farm receipts, increased in the United States (from 7% to 10%) and Mexico (from 11% to 13%), while it stayed the same in Australia (2%) and New Zealand (1%), and decreased in the European Union (from 20% to 18%).
  • Internationally, support to specific commodities has fallen over time, but some commodities still receive a high level of support. This support is measured by the single commodity transfers (SCT), an indicator that measures transfers linked to the production of a single commodity. This indicator is expressed as a percent of gross receipts for the specific commodity.
  • In 2014, milk is the commodity that received the highest level of support in Canada with an SCT of 29%. In the EU, beef and veal received the highest level of support with an SCT of 24%. In the US, milk received the highest level of support with an SCT of 14%.

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