Big, bigger, biggest – The Western Producer

The Canadian Census of Agriculture data tells a clear story. Large farms dominate agriculture in Western Canada.

Assuming a large farm is 5,000 acres or more, 4,956 farms on the Prairies fell into that category in 2021.

Back in 2011, large farms owned and operated about 41 million acres of cropland and rangeland in the three prairie provinces. By 2021, they controlled about 46 million acres, having consolidated about five million acres in a single decade.

It was land once farmed by thousands of families. Some of them continue to own and rent out the land, but they are no longer growing grain or raising livestock.

The dominance is about more than acres. Big operators bring in the bulk of farm revenue.

“Farms in the top sales classes … account for the largest share of total farm operating revenues,” Statistics Canada said in May 2022. “In 2021, farms reporting at least $2 million in sales accounted for 51.5 percent of total farm operating revenues. This compared with 41.5 percent in 2016.”

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