Canadian farm sector income is expected to reach $24.8bn in 2023

A flowing Canadian flag on a flagpole. Taken at sunset with Old Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River in the background. Aerial HDR view.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s latest farm income forecast, the Canadian agriculture sector is set to record an unprecedented financial performance for the year 2023. Despite facing a myriad of obstacles such as droughts in western Canada, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and other global conflicts, the sector’s economic health has not only withstood these trials but thrived.

The report projects a 13 percent rise in Net Cash Income (NCI) for 2023, setting a new benchmark at $24.8bn. This growth comes amidst a period of more moderate increases in both expenses and receipts compared to the previous two years, with receipts surpassing expenses to achieve this new record. Livestock receipts, notably from cattle, are the primary contributors to this surge, anticipated to jump nearly 10 percent to $37.3 billion. Crop receipts are also expected to see a 4 percent increase, reaching $56.0 billion, thanks to efficient grain marketing that has countered declining price trends. Conversely, operating expenses saw a modest 2 percent increase to $74.9 billion, a stark contrast to the 20 percent hike observed in 2022.

The forecast further highlights an expected 17 percent increase in average Net Operating Income (NOI) per farm for 2023, reaching $155,000, which is 34 percent above the average from 2018 to 2022. Farm family incomes, encompassing off-farm earnings, are also predicted to rise by 11 percent to $239,000. However, not all sectors will enjoy these gains, with hog and poultry and egg farms expected to see no increase.

Looking into 2024, projections suggest a 14 percent decrease in NCI to $21.3 billion, with a slight dip in cash receipts and a modest rise in expenses. Yet, this figure would still be 28 percent above the five-year average leading up to 2023. Crop receipts are expected to decline by 5 percent due to falling prices, whereas livestock receipts might see a smaller 2 percent increase as cattle price growth slows.

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