by SUSAN MANN
Ontario farmers’ average total income dropped by about one per cent to $89,000 in 2014 compared to a year earlier, according to a Statistics Canada report released earlier this week.
In 2013, Statistics Canada said Ontario farmers’ average total income was $90,000. Ontario was one of four provinces across Canada where farmers’ average total income was down in 2014. The other provinces also hit with declines were: Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta.
Ontario’s drop is in contrast to an increase for all of Canada, where farmers’ average total income increased by 1.7 per cent to $95,000 compared to $94,000 in 2013.
Alfons Weersink, a professor in University of Guelph’s department of food, agricultural and resource economics, said the Ontario and Canada numbers show there hasn’t been a big change in average total income from the previous year.
Some of the drop in Ontario farmers’ average total income can be attributed to lower grains and oilseeds prices. However, the drop “is offset by some beef and hog farmers’ higher revenues,” he said.
The numbers also reflect regional differences across the country, Weersink said. For example, Ontario farmers’ income would show more of an impact from a drop in the corn price than Saskatchewan farmers’ income, which in turn would be more impacted by canola or cereal prices.
Some of the other numbers in the Statistics Canada report include:
- Across Canada, the average income from off-farm sources was up by 3.7 per cent in 2014 hitting $47,000 compared to $45,000 in 2013. For Ontario, the average off-farm income was $48,000 in 2014; it was $46,500 in 2013.
- Off-farm income accounted for 49.2 per cent of Canadian farmers’ income in 2014. That’s up a percentage point from 2013.
- Hog and pig farmers reported the largest gain of 106.3 per cent in average total income in 2014, mainly due to increases in their net operating income. That income “almost tripled as hog revenues were boosted by stronger prices,” the report said. Hog farmers’ average total income in 2014 was higher than farmers’ incomes in commodities that typically post the highest averages, including potatoes, poultry and eggs.
- The 2014 average income of beef farmers across Canada was up by 24.2 per cent from 2013, and was $67,000. The increase was mainly due to higher cattle and calf prices, which were up because of low North American inventories.
- Canadian livestock farmers in commodities other than beef and pigs had a 14.6 per cent decline in their average total income in 2014 compared to 2013. Similarly, income for grains and oilseeds farmers across Canada was down 6.2 per cent in 2014 compared to the year before and for poultry and egg producers it was down 1.5 per cent for the same time periods. Average total income was down for those sectors because of “lower average net operating income,” the report said. BF