Fewer and bigger operations
The farming industry continues to evolve.
While the number of farmers has dropped sharply in the last 20 years, the size of operations has increased.
In fact, in the counties of Stormont- Dundas- Glengarry and Prescott-Russell, there is more agricultural acreage today than there was two decades ago. But this pattern bucks a widespread trend.
The number of farm operations in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry has dropped from 2,203 in 1991 to 1,577 in 2011, the last time the Farm Census was conducted.
During that same period, the number of farms in PrescottRussell decreased from 1,337 to 987.
These numbers reflect provincial and regional trends. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of farms in eastern Ontario decreased from 10,655 to 8,007 and from 68,633 to 51,950 across the province.
The Census showed that the total size of farms in the five eastern counties has increased. The total area of farms in SD&G went from 471,354 acres in 1991 to 477,607 in 2011. In PrescottRussell, the total area increased from 286,624 to 298,666 in 2011. In eastern Ontario, the total area of farms declined, however, from 2,480,000 to 2,258,128 and in the province, the total dropped from 13,470,653 to 12,668,236.
When it comes to individual operations, sizes vary greatly. Some 274 farms in SD&G are between ten and 69 acres in size while 295 are between 70 and 129 acres, 283 are between 240 and 399 acres and 226 are at least 560 acres in size.
Some 527 producers in SD&G are involved in oilseed and grain farming, while 352 milk cows.
In the three counties, there are 166 beef farmers, ten hog producers, 22 poultry and egg farmers, 41 sheep and goat producers, and 20 vegetable farmers.
The fruit and nut sector accounts for 21 operations while 29 farmers are involved in greenhouse, nursery and horticulture production.