Agriculture involves the cultivation of plants and animals to produce various products for human consumption. It has played a significant role in Canada's history and development, and continues to figure prominently in the country's economic landscape. Given agriculture's importance, The Canadian Encyclopedia features many articles on the topic, organized in this collection by topic.
Soil is the thin, fragile surface layer of Earth. It is a dynamic, loose and porous body of variable thickness (between a few centimetres and a few metres). Soil is formed by continuous transformations of rock or deposit through physical, chemical and biological processes. It is one of the two main components of Earth — the other being oceans — in which life is particularly active. Soil is the source and site of many human activities, and human life greatly depends on it. In Canada, agricultural, environmental and natural-resource scientists are at the forefront of research on soil.
Over 200 species of small, fleshy, wild fruits occur in Canada. Most people consider them all "berries" but, technically, they are classed in different categories, including drupes (e.g., cherries, elderberries), pomes (e.g., saskatoon berries), true berries (e.g., gooseberries, blueberries) and aggregate fruits (e.g., raspberries, strawberries).
Beef cattle farming is a key component of Canadian agriculture. The four Western provinces account for about 85 per cent of beef cattle on Canadian cattle farms, with nearly one-half in Alberta alone. Beef farms make up about one-quarter of all farms in Canada, second only to field crops, while the dollar value of live cattle exports ranks just behind spring wheat, canola and durum exports. Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 per capita consumers and exporters of beef.
For more than a century, the federal government has funded agricultural research through a network of research centres strategically placed in almost every province. This research program has played a major role in developing the more than $120-billion Canadian agrifood industry.