Norfolk County promotes itself as Ontario’s Garden and has every right to do so. Latest data from Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census of Agriculture confirms that our farmers are leaders in agriculture not only on the provincial stage, but the national one, too.
Innovation comes naturally to Norfolk County and our agriculture sector leads the way with technology. By acre, our farmers use the most computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, GPS and GIS mapping compared to anywhere else in Canada.
There are 1,860 farm operators working 1,307 farms in Norfolk County, with total land in crops of 196,403 acres. Farm employees totalled 7,619, including 6,493 seasonal or temporary workers – the most of any other region in Canada – plus 812 full-time and 314 part-time year-round workers.
Norfolk County farmers received more than $519 million in gross farm receipts last year, up 43% compared to 2011. Overall income in the Norfolk County agriculture sector is seventh highest in Canada, and second highest in Ontario. Norfolk County has the most farms in Canada reporting incomes of over $2 million, up 55%.
Overall farm operating expenses in Norfolk County surpassed $477 million last year, up 35%. Total farm capital, including land, buildings, livestock and machinery, was valued at approximately $3.3 billion, up 57%. By acre, Norfolk County has the second highest total farm capital value in Canada.
Norfolk County farmers are Ontario’s Number One growers of asparagus, cabbage, tart cherries, ginseng, peppers, pumpkins, rye, squash and zucchini, strawberries, and other vegetables. Norfolk County is among Ontario’s top-growing communities of several other crops: sweet corn, apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Our farmers are Canada’s Number One growers of asparagus, tart cherries, ginseng, peppers, pumpkins, squash and zucchini, and other vegetables.
Norfolk County poultry farmers reported sales of over 15 million kilograms of chicken and almost 1.5 million kilograms of turkey. Poultry inventory was up 64%, as were pigs (up 13%), cattle and calves (up 6%), goats (up 43%), and sheep and lambs (up 32%).
There were 24 farms growing organics, up 26%, and 27 farms with maple trees, up 69%. The Census reported 126 farms reporting farm gate sales. Six farms reported using Community Supported Agriculture to market their products.
Total greenhouse area (the majority of it in flowers) exceeded 5.2 million square feet, down 10% from 2011. Sales of forest products were $546,078, up 39%. There were 98 tobacco farms in 2016, up from 63 in 2011.
Farmers in Norfolk County also grow mainstream field crops, including corn for grain, soybeans, wheat. Acreages for the most part had decreased for these commodities.