Women choose the sheep and goat industries more than any others: StatsCan

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Statistics Canada has released a report based on the 2021 Census of Agriculture that outlines the increasing role of women as part of farm businesses.

Overall, female farm operator numbers increased for the first time since 1991, when the Census of Agriculture started collecting data for up to three farm operators.

In 2021, there were 79,795 female farm operators reported in Canada, up from 77,970 in 2016. This number was an increase of 2.3 per cent (+1,825). By comparison, male farm operator numbers dropped by 5.8 per cent over the same period.

The rate of increase in farming is still behind the overall technical occupation average. From 2017 to 2021, the Labour Force Survey reported a 19.4 per cent increase in the number of combined female supervisors and workers in Canada working in natural resources, agriculture and related production.

Of particular note, women are most likely to farm in the sheep and goat sectors (41.1 per cent), and least likely in the grain and oilseed sector (25.6 per cent).

In 2021, 16,590 female farm operators reported managing one-operator farms in Canada, an increase of 26.5 per cent (+3,480) from 2016. About one in seven (14.9 per cent) one-operator farms in Canada were managed by female operators in 2021, up from 11.5 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of male operators managing one-operator farms decreased by 5.9 per cent (-5,960) over the same period.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of female farm operators aged younger than 35 years (younger group) and those aged 35 to 54 years (middle-aged group) decreased by 620 (-9.5 per cent) and 4,790 (-15.8 per cent), respectively.

You can read the full report here.

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