Canadian net farm income hits record

The federal government says net farm income reached a record $7.3 billion last year, 31.7 percent more than the previous year.


It followed increases of 56.3 percent in 2011 and 16.9 percent in 2010 as farmers benefit from high commodity prices and increased exports.


Meanwhile, Statistics Canada also reported Nov. 26 that it has increased by $400 million the calculation of farm debt owing at the end of last year to a record $72.6 billion, even as farm income was soaring.


Chartered banks held more than one-third of the debt, followed by federal agencies including Farm Credit Canada.


Statistics Canada said last year’s increased income was driven by a sharp escalation in grain and oilseed prices, although cattle industry receipts also increased 4.2 percent.


After a brief recovery the previous year, hog industry receipts fell slightly as average prices fell 3.4 percent.


Statistics Canada said program payments fell slightly to $3.4 billion last year, including a 22.1 percent decline in Saskatchewan.


Program payments increased in Alberta (13 percent) and Quebec (17.4 percent).


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