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Industry Profile

Agriculture

Industry Profile

Family farms, cattle ranches, trapping, hunting and fishing businesses, as well as beekeeping and ornamental-flower production operations are all part of Alberta's agriculture industry. These enterprises cover about 50.5 million acres, or about a third of the province, according to the 2011 Census of Agriculture. That's down by 3.1% from the 2006 census. Animal production makes up approximately 46.0% of farm types, while grain, wheat, and other crop farming make up the other half.

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, this industry accounted for 1.2% of Alberta's GDP. This represents a 0.4% reduction from 2013.

Sectors

  • crop production
  • animal production and aquaculture
  • fishing, hunting, and trapping
  • agricultural support services for crop production and animal production

Workforce

The agriculture industry employed 62,800 people in 2015. This is a decrease of 600 jobs (0.9%) from 2013.

  • 45,000 men worked in the industry in 2015 (up 3.0% from 2013).
  • 17,800 women worked in the industry in 2015 (down 9.6% from 2013).

Wages

The average 2015 hourly wage of $19.51 for the agriculture industry was below the provincial average of $29.06.

General Farm Worker
$20.15
Average Hourly Wage
Farmer and Farm Manager (Dairy Producer)
$33.60
Average Hourly Wage

Industry Performance

Farm cash receipts represent the cash income from the sale of crops or animal products, as well as any agricultural subsidies or supports. In 2014, these receipts measured a record at $12.9 billion, up 9.1% from the previous year. Factors such as a stronger U.S. economy and a weaker Canadian dollar led to increased American demand and higher prices for Alberta beef and live cattle. The value of exports rose almost 50.0% from 2013. Crop prices, however, were weaker in 2014. Bumper crops around the world meant that wheat only increased in value by 1.3%. The growing movement to source food locally may be affecting the province's greenhouse industry. Total sales of hothouse products rose by 11.1%, or more than $14 million between 2013 and 2014.

Industry Outlook

For 2018-19, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has set a target of $5.7 billion for primary commodity exports and $4.9 billion for processed or manufactured products. New trade agreements are creating new markets for the industry. In the longer term, as global living standards improve in developing countries such as China, Alberta's grain and meat producers will have the opportunity to find new customers. Capacity issues for storage and processing, an aging workforce, and the effects of climate change are several sizable risks facing the agriculture industry.

Industry Employment Trends

Employment in this industry is expected to decrease at an average rate of 0.1% from 2016 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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