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Ag. Canada says farming incomes will rise
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:08PM CST
From wheat to potatoes, hogs to cattle, Agriculture Canada says almost all Canadian farmers could see better days ahead.
A new report by Agriculture Canada shows a record average farm income last year, and is forecasting much of the same for the next decade.
University of Saskatchewan assistant professor Eric Micheels agrees the fundamentals are there for good opportunities. "What is happening globally in terms of supply and demand, and with population growth, and with changes in consumption patterns and supply patterns, I think it does point to some really good years."
Compared to 2010, Ag. Canada suggests incomes will rise 20 per cent for potato, poultry, and hog producers. Grain and oilseed farmers could see incomes 44 per cent higher.
In Saskatchewan, the average net operating farm income this year is predicted to be about $62,000. That's just below the national average.
But Micheels says grouping all agriculture sectors into one average can be misleading. Bad weather or animal disease could wipe out one farmer's profits, but have no effect on another farm.
"I think this report is pointing to the fact there's going to be opportunities and how you manage risk to keep those opportunities viable i think is the key to moving forward," says Micheels.
Net cash income for everything from new machinery to living expenses is also expected to rise substantially. Even a Farm Credit Canada survey shows Saskatchewan producers are the most optimistic in the country. More than 82 per cent of survey respondents believe all sectors of the industry will improve over the next few years.
While there will be challenges - like increasing expenses, such as fertilizer and livestock feed - Agriculture Canada says strong prices and world demand will put more money in the pockets of most farmers for years to come.