Business
Canadian farms last year earned double the income they made in 2009: StatsCan

Nathaniel Riberdy, of Kerwood harvests some corn on 9 mile road north of London, ON Thursday October 11, 2012.

Credits: MIKE HENSEN/QMI AGENCY

DEBORA VAN BRENK | QMI AGENCY

LONDON -- Canadian farms last year earned double the income they made in 2009, Statistics Canada numbers show.

And as this year's harvest comes to a close - with record crop prices and a better-than-expected season for growers in southwestern Ontario and the Prairies - 2012 is expected to top 2011.

Record-high crop prices and low, single-digit interest rates have helped reverse an earnings slump of the past few years, the StatsCan report says.

Farms' total net income in 2011 was $5.8 billion, or almost double that of 2010 and more than twice as much as in 2009.

"Those are striking statistics, no doubt about it," said Philip Shaw, an agricultural economist. Even so, the sheer speed of the growth and the influence of agriculture as an economic powerhouse "makes you blink."

Many Canadian farmers had great crop yields last year at the same time prices were high and interest rates were low.
"It's healthier than it's been for quite some time," Shaw said. "Compared with when we were leading farm rallies in 2006, it's a totally new day."

The StatsCan report says the surge in incomes reflected price increases across farming sectors and included everything from grains and oilseed crops to livestock, dairy and eggs. Expenses also increased, but not at the same pace.

It also notes the figures reflect farm business income, not farm household income.

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