Québec Maple Syrup – Tops in Agriculture

Québec Maple Syrup – Tops in Agriculture

Agriculture is changing in Québec as it is elsewhere. Farms are becoming larger and less numerous, but at the same time becoming more productive.  Québec agriculture has an annual economical impact on the world stage estimated at $8.4 billion.

Maple_Syrup_CanThe number of farms has been decreasing in Québec for the last 40 years and has gone from 154,669 farms in 1941 to 29, 437 in 2011. The trend has been less pronounced in the last decade however counting for only a 4% decrease since 2006.

Ironically, this phenomenon has not led to a decline in production; on the contrary farms are fewer but produce more, year after year. The number of farms with gross revenues of more than $500,000 increased by 9.2 % over the last 10 years , while the number of farms with revenues of less than $100,000 decreased by 5.9 % .

In Québec, 14 % of farms now generate 66% of all gross revenue.

On the downside is the increase by 10% of the small farms whose revenues are below $10,000 a year. The small farmer, unfortunately these days, has to have a second income in order to maintain a normal lifestyle.

Fewer animals

For five years now, crops constitute the largest proportion of farms in the province, now exceeding the dairy cattle and milk production.

In 2006 dairy farms accounted for 20% of farming in Québec, down from 26% in 2001. Québec is still the leader in dairy production in Canada having a herd count of 359,510 heads as compared to Ontario’s 318,158 even though the number decreased by 6% between 2006 and 2011. Québec had 5,915 dairy producers in 2011.

Farms producing beef in Québec is down by 33% with only 3,154 left and hog producers has diminished by 22%.

It is crop production, at 30%, which now ranks first in terms of the number of farms in Québec. Canola and Soybean are the most popular crops being grown and exported, with the demand for canola oil up 170% and soybeans up 55.6%. Cranberry and blueberry production have more than doubled in the last 6 years.

Québec is still, by far, the leader in maple Syrup production with 40 million trees being tapped annually amounting to 90% of the total Canadian production.

Cereals and corn production have diminished in Québec in recent times going against the trend concerning other cash crops like soybean and canola.  

Canada still exports the bulk of its agricultural products (50.5%) to the United States. Exports to our southern neighbour totalled $22 billion in 2011, and were up 10 % compared to the previous year. In second place is Japan, with nearly $4 billion in exports – it should be noted that this figure also includes seafood. Europe is the third, with a little more than $3 billion in produce exported annually.
LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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