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Optimism about Canadian ag at all-time high


January 17, 2012
By Farm Credit Canada

Topics

January
17, 2012, Regina, Sask – Optimism among Canadian agriculture producers and
agribusiness owners is at an all-time high, according to the fifth annual Farm
Credit Canada (FCC) national Vision panel survey.

January
17, 2012, Regina, Sask – Optimism among Canadian agriculture producers and
agribusiness owners is at an all-time high, according to the fifth annual Farm
Credit Canada (FCC)
national Vision panel survey.

A full
80 per cent of respondents say their farm or business will be better off in
five years – a shift from 76 per cent in 2010. Further evidence of this
optimistic attitude is demonstrated in additional survey findings that show:

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  • that
    more Canadian producers report being better off today than they were five years
    ago – 77 per cent compared to 67 per cent in 2010
  • that 58
    per cent of producers plan to expand or diversify their operations within the
    next five years; and
  • that
    seven in ten producers would encourage a friend or relative to pursue a career
    in primary production.

Full
survey results are available at www.fccvision.ca/research.

“The
results are great news,” says FCC president and CEO Greg Stewart. “Producers
said their optimism is driven by their expectation of profitability over the
next five years, increasing global demand for food and the fact that they have
either recently, or expect to, reduce their debt over the next five years. At
the same time, they expressed caution due to factors beyond their control such
as weather, unpredictable economic conditions and potential rising interest
rates, which makes perfect sense.”

“Following
a few years of economic uncertainty and challenging weather in some parts of
Canada, the results demonstrate the ongoing resiliency of Canadian producers
and the agriculture industry,” says Jean-Philippe Gervais, FCC senior
agriculture economist. “In an online discussion, producers said their expected
profitability stemmed from a strong position of major agriculture market
drivers such as increases in farmland values, higher commodity and red meat
prices, and current interest rates.”

In the
survey, producers openly shared hundreds of positive comments about the industry.

“Agriculture
is more than a job, it is an amazing lifestyle,” said a B.C. dairy producer and
member of the Vision panel who answered the survey. “I feel confident that
there are exciting changes ahead as young people realize the value in working
in an industry that they love.”

An
Ontario beef producer commented in the survey that, “Farming is not going to go
away or be moved to another country. People need to eat so farming will always
exist. It is a good field to work in. There are a variety of jobs within the
field.”

“Agriculture
is an essential industry for Canada and the world, and as industry champions,
FCC has an important role to play in sharing news about the positive reality of
the industry,” says Stewart. “The numbers clearly show that producers are
prepared to capitalize on opportunities Canadian agriculture offers the world.
Optimism is just what agriculture needs to attract more people with the skills
and passion to grow the industry, as well as investment dollars. This will
enable continued innovation.”

Across
Canada, producers in Saskatchewan are more likely to be optimistic about the
future (82 per cent) than other producers (79 per cent). Crop and dairy
producers across the country consistently report high levels of optimism, and
optimism among beef producers ranges from a low of 59 per cent in Quebec to a
high of 87 per cent in Manitoba. Complete survey results, and graphs of
findings by sector and province can be found at www.fccvision.ca/research.

FCC
Vision Panel
members – more than 9,000 producers and agribusiness and agri-food
operators – were asked in the fall about their views on the state of
agriculture. Nearly 4,500 producers participated. The margin of error for this
survey is +/-1.4%, 19 times out of 20 on a sample of this size. Demographic
subgroups will have a higher margin of error.