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Agriculture and Food

Canada's agriculture and food industries have changed greatly in the years since the Second World War. Growth in Canada’s economy, and associated social changes, have altered the way food is produced, processed, handled, sold and consumed.

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Crops

Crops are plant species grown for human or animal consumption or for special purposes (e.g., flax, tobacco). In Canada, most major crops grown are used for food and feed.

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McIntosh Apple

The McIntosh apple (Malus domestica “McIntosh”) is often called the national apple of Canada. Discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his Ontario farm, the McIntosh apple has been commercially available since the 1880s. It is grown mostly in eastern Ontario, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, and the northeastern United States. The skin of this medium-sized apple is mostly bright red, but often includes green and white areas. The flesh is white, crisp and tart tasting. The McIntosh is one of the top 10 apples sold in North America.

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Agriculture in Canada

Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants.

In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Article

Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA)

The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) was a branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with a focus on Western Canada. It was headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan. The PFRA also had 22 district offices throughout the Prairie provinces. The agency began in response to the drought crisis of the 1930s in the Prairies. However, for nearly eight decades, it continued to help farmers conserve soil, prevent erosion, develop water resources and manage pasture land.