As of 2021 there are 79,795 female farm operators reported in Canada, up 2.3 per cent from 2016, newly released data from the 2021 Census of Agriculture said. The number of male farm operators dropped by 5.8 per cent over the same time period.
Overall, women made up 30.4 per cent of Canadian farm operators, up from 2016. The release noted this isn’t the first time the proportion of female farm operators has increased between census periods — it follows a trend that has been recorded over the previous seven census periods.
The number of female farm operators in Canada aged 55 years and over increased by 17.7 per cent, the release said. This was was more than five times the rate of their male counterparts at 3.1 per cent. The number of female farm operators under the age of 35 years fell by 9.5 per cent.
As with 2016, Ontario had the most female farm operators. Alberta was second, followed by Saskatchewan and Quebec, the release said. However, British Columbia had the highest proportion of female farm operators at 39.7 per cent.
In regard to farm type, sheep and goat farms had the highest percentage of female farm operators at 41.1 per cent, while oilseed and grain farms had the lowest percentage at 25.6 per cent.