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Canadian farm income expected to reach new record high – today news

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It appears to be a good time to be a food producer in Canada.

“Yes, it was a good year for some of the commodities. Some other commodities struggled. That leads us to be cautiously optimistic that agriculture is in a good position,” explained Chris Cossitt, a local farmer and president of the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture.

Forecasts from Agriculture Canada suggest Canadian farm net cash income will reach a new record in 2023.

They predict the difference between cash receipts and operating expenses will jump 13 per cent to a record $24.8 billion. The beef sector is expected to see a 10 per cent increase, with crop receipts up four per cent. Expenses only increased two per cent last year, down from a 20 per cent increase in 2022.

That expected difference bodes well for agricultural investment this year.

“When you put a dollar in a farmer’s pocket, it doesn’t stay there. They tend to circulate it, and that’s the circular economy. Whether it’s upgrading facilities, technology, equipment, or more land. Farmers are really good at circulating the economy,” said Glen McNeil, a retired farmer and current Huron County warden.

Farms near Goderich, Ont., are seen in November 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

But, there are headwinds ahead for Canadian farmers, said Cossitt, who is bullish about future prospects in the countryside.

“We are dealing with the higher carbon tax, energy prices, whenever we go to the grocery store, we’re paying the same prices consumers are,” said Cossitt.

Federal government estimates concur, and suggest 2024 won’t be as kind to farmers as 2023.

Net cash income is expected to drop 14 per cent to $21.3 billion, while beef receipts will slow, and crop receipts are expected to fall five per cent. But, that’s still net cash income 28 per cent higher than the 2018 to 2022 average, said Agriculture Canada.

It is a welcome bit of economic news for farmers, but not one that solves the huge start up costs to become a food producer.

“In my operation, that investment is millions of dollars to operate a farm. The farm’s output and what you receive for that output don’t always balance. But, it is a great industry that I would highly recommend to anyone. Challenging, but highly rewarding,” said Cossitt. 

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