While it’s clear there’s plenty of farm country in Agassiz-Harrison, just how big is agriculture in our community?
Statistics Canada recently released localized data from its 2021 Census of Agriculture.
There are 115 farms in Census Consolidated Subdivision Fraser Valley D, which encompasses Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills, Seabird Island and the Rosedale-Popkum area. Cattle ranching and farming and dairy cattle and milk production dominate the local farming industry with 44 cattle ranching and farming operations and 32 dairy cattle and milk production facilities, respectively. Beef cattle ranching and farming, including feedlots, makes up 12 farms in the area.
Of 53 farms that reported cattle inventory, the census reports there are 8,805 cattle.
The next closest non-cattle categories are greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production (14 farms) and fruit and tree nut farming (12 farms).
The largest farms in the census area range between 400 and 559 acres (161 to 226 hectares). A bulk of agricultural facilities in the area (32 farms) are between 10 to 69.9 acres (4 to 28.3 hectares) in size. Most of those farms are sole proprietorships (47 farms) with partnerships coming in a close second (35 farms).
Across the province, the number of farms has dropped by nearly 10 per cent, significantly higher than the 1.9 per cent drop across the country. The average land in crops across Canada has gone up slightly from the last census, up by just 0.2 per cent. The land in crops across B.C. dropped by just over 4 per cent.
In B.C., much like in the rest of the country, the average age of farm operators has gone up slightly to 57.8 years; Nationwide, the average age is 56 years. Local farmers are on average a bit younger than provincial and national findings at just over 53 years old.
A vast majority of farms in the Agassiz-Harrison census area and throughout B.C. do not have a succession plan as of the time of the census; only about 26 per cent of local farms have any form of succession plan.