Media Contact: Trudy Kelly Forsythe
Economic Value of Canada's Forage Sector Tops $5 Billion
Forage is critical to sustainable growth and development of Canadian agriculture industry
FREDERICTON, N.B. (Oct. 6, 2016) - With a direct economic value of $5.09 billion, forage is Canada's third largest crop, just behind wheat with its value of $5.2 billion, and canola at $7.3 billion.
"Forage is the backbone of Canada's ruminant industry and, with over 70 million acres in production, it is the largest land use sector in Canadian agriculture," says Cedric MacLeod, executive director of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association and a beef farmer in western New Brunswick. "There is no doubt the forage and grassland industry plays a significant role in Canada's economy and is a critical foundation for sustainable growth and development throughout the Canadian agriculture industry."
The CFGA's 7th annual conference in Winnipeg Nov. 15 to 17 will highlight the Canadian forage and grassland sector's economic and environmental contribution to Canada. Agricultural consultant Douglas Yungblut, commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to assess the state of the nation's forage and grassland industry resulting in a 2012 report, brings the economics of forages into the spotlight as one of the featured speakers at the conference. He will speak on the economics of beef cow grazing versus cash cropping in Southern Ontario on Nov. 17 at 10:30 a.m.
MacLeod says forages are produced across all agricultural regions of Canada and opportunities for forages are growing. Exports of forages and forage seeds were only four per cent of the industry value in 2012 and there is a significant opportunity to meet a growing demand in other countries for high quality forages to feed their growing livestock industries or to replace domestic production. This has already led to enterprises like the Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative, which formed to develop and operate a double hay-compacting facility with the goal of compacting, baling and exporting high quality hay to growing overseas markets while also netting producers higher hay prices.
Incorporated in 2010, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association provides a national voice for all Canadians who produce hay and forage products and for those whose production is dependent upon forage/grassland production.