More than 40% of farm operators plan to retire over next decade: report
More than 40% of farm operators plan to retire over next decade: report

A shortage of Canadian farm operators is looming as more than 40% of farm operators will retire over the next decade, according to a new report.

A report from the Royal Bank of Canada, Boston Consulting Group’s Centre for Canada’s Future and the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph states Canada will be short 24,000 general farm, nursery, and greenhouse operators.

The report estimates that 66% of producers do not have a succession plan in place, leaving the future of farming in Canada in doubt. 

The report recommends Canada bolster agriculture education in order to build a pipeline of domestic operators and workers. Further, it also suggests Canada will have to rely on immigrants to fill the shortage of workers by accepting 30,000 permanent residents by 2033.

The Trudeau government’s relationship with farmers and western provinces has deteriorated in recent months as the government has proposed a nitrogen emission reduction policy for farmers.

As exclusively reported by True North in the Fertilizer Files series, Agriculture Canada has cited the European Union’s Farm to Fork (F2F) framework as an inspiration for Canada’s own fertilizer targets, which include a voluntary 30% reduction in nitrogen emissions by the year 2030. 

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers put out a scathing statement in February accusing the federal government of ideological capture and failing to base their 30% fertilizer emissions reduction target on science. 

Further, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre explained in a March interview how the province is hedging against a potential fertilizer mandate by passing the Saskatchewan First Act.

“There is a cross referencing between federal powers and provincial powers over agriculture. There always has been. It’s a little bit unique, in that regard, in contrast to, for example, natural resources,” explained Eyre.

“This is important, though. The day-to-day business of farming, and use of fertilizer, has always been within the provincial realm.”

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