Growth Amid Challenges: Canadian Farmers' Net Income Rises in 2023

May 29, 2024

In 2023, Canadian farmers witnessed an 18.3% increase in realized net income, reaching $14.5 billion, according to data from Statistics Canada released on Wednesday. This growth contrasts with a 4.1% decline in 2022 and follows a substantial 69.6% increase in 2021. When excluding cannabis, the realized net income rose by 16.2% to $14.2 billion. Digging beneath the surface, considerable variations are evident in cash receipts and expenses.

Realized net income, defined as the difference between a farmer's cash receipts and operating expenses (minus depreciation plus income in kind), surged primarily due to higher farm cash receipts which grew by 4.4% from the previous year. This increase was driven by significant rises in livestock receipts (+$3.3 billion) and crop receipts (+$1.7 billion), despite a decrease in program payments by $758.4 million.

Farm Cash Receipts Up, Livestock Variable

Farm cash receipts climbed to $99.6 billion in 2023, a 4.4% increase from 2022, fueled by strong livestock and crop marketings. Livestock receipts alone rose by 9.8% to $37.3 billion, marking the third consecutive year of growth. Notably, cattle receipts soared by 25.4% to $13.5 billion, bolstered by a 21.2% rise in slaughter cattle receipts. This was despite a decrease in the number of cattle slaughtered, which fell by 4.5% due to higher feed costs and tight supplies.

In the supply-managed sectors, accounting for approximately 40% of total livestock receipts, gains were also significant. Dairy receipts increased by 3.9% to $8.6 billion, while poultry receipts rose by 8.1%, despite challenges such as avian influenza.

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