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A good time to thank our farmers

A good time to thank our farmers

Posted on: 10/2/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

With Thanksgiving only a week away, we can be thankful that Alberta’s agriculture and food manufacturing sectors have performed well during the recent economic downturn.

As of last year, there were 40,638 farms in Alberta, 50,800 agricultural workers plus another 20, 800 Albertans employed in the food and beverage manufacturing sectors.

Gross farm income in Alberta increased during the first year of the recession, rising by 5.4 per cent in 2015. Farm income dipped slightly in 2016 (-0.8 per cent), but held its own compared to, for example, oil and gas extraction (which saw sales drop by 39.5 per cent in 2015 and 11.4 per cent in 2016). As of the first quarter of 2017, receipts were up by 3.8 per cent from a year earlier.

In terms of real GDP, crop and animal production bounced back after losing ground in 2015, posting a 13.9 per cent jump in 2016. Meanwhile, sectors such as construction and support activities for oil and gas extraction saw their real GDP drop by 17.9 per cent and 31.6 per cent, respectively.

As reported in The Owl two weeks ago, sales of manufactured food products were an economic bright spot in 2015 and 2016, rising by 7.1 per cent during the recession.

In addition to the delicious and nutritious food, our farmers and agri-food workers provide for us and others around the world, they have helped the province weather the economic downturn. For that, we should all be thankful.

Tomorrow’s Owl will look at the number and size of Alberta farms in more detail.

Annual farm cash receipts in Alberta, graph

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