Farm profile of region
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Itis with interest that the Minister responsible for the Estrie region, St. Francois MNA Dr. Rejean Hebert, learnt about the regional agricultural sector from the 2011 edition of the Profil régional de l’industrie bioalimentaire au Québec, put out by the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation. This document gives a detailed portrait of the bio-food sector of each administrative region. What stood out for the Estrie region was the large diversity in the farming sector, one that includes almost 2,600 enterprises generating receipts of 480 million dollars, innovative training centres and numerous public markets.
In this region, forage plants are an integral part of the landscape. Pasture covers more than 75% of the cultivated area, which explains the dominant place of the raising of ruminants: 60% of Estrie farms engage in animal production. With receipts of more than 220 million dollars, the dairy sector is strongest. It generates 46% of the total receipts of the farming industry in the Estrie and holds 9% of the milk quota of Quebec.
The region has almost 60 hog barns and a hundred grain-fed hog-raisers. The revenues from this sector represent 19% of the agricultural revenue of the region, making it the second biggest sector.
Not only is the Estrie region the most important Quebec region when it comes to the cultivation of Christmas trees, it is the second biggest maple syrup producer. There are 5.7 million taps over an area of approximately 25,000 hectares, generating receipts of over 40 million dollars.
Finally, with 80 certified organic farms, the region is considered the ‘cradle’ of organic farming in Quebec. Agro-tourism growing The 2011 edition of the Profil also revealed the importance of agro-tourism in the economy of the region. Vineyards, orchards, blueberry farms, maple sugar producers, raspberry farms, honey producers, cheese producers, rose gardens and lavender fields attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
Food transformation, with more than 200 enterprises, is also important on the territory. Those businesses primarily transform fruits and vegetables, maple products, meat and poultry.
“The bio-food industry is at the heart of the economic development of the regions of Quebec and affects each of us, at least, three times a day. It is to everyone’s advantage to work together in the growth of this promising sector. This is what we wish to do with the future policy on food sovereignty that my government is now working on and that will be deposited in the spring,” confirmed Dr. Hebert.