There is an age old debate on whether the agricultural or oil sector is most important. Being based in Calgary, I am surrounded by the importance of both sectors. My friend, Kim McCornell, wrote me the other day with some interesting facts from a column by Brenda Schoepp in the latest issue of Alberta Farmer Express. I encourage you all to read below:
BOTH are very important — especially in this part of the world. But here are some neat facts that you might find of interest about Canada’s agriculture and oil sectors:
- Agriculture in Canada directly employs more than 305,000 people and the entire agri-food industry employs 2.2 million persons … supplying one in eight Canadians with work. Oil & gas directly employs 190,000 people and just over 400,000 persons as an industry. While the oil & gas industry is presently laying off workers, the agricultural industry is estimated to be short 74,000 workers by the year 2022.
- Oil & gas produce 2.9 per cent of GDP while all energy, including electricity, is 7.5 percent of GDP. Agri-food accounts for 6.7 per cent of GDP – bigger than auto manufacturing
- The Canadian grocery cart contains 70 per cent of Canadian products grown in Canada.
- 98 per cent of farms in Canada are family farms supporting the continuation of the rural infrastructure and the protection of rural cultures. More than 25,000 of these farms are owned and operated by men and women under age 35
- 40 per cent of agricultural commodities are value-added in Canada in more than 6,000 facilities, and the industry has room for growth (meat processing alone employs 79,000 persons). A small percentage of oil has further value add within our borders in 15 refineries
- Agriculture is estimated to contribute 10 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas with 26 percent coming directly from the oil & gas sector. Changes in farming practices continue to contribute to the reduction of environmental degradation.
Kim noted that both the oil & gas industry and the agri-food industries are important to Alberta and Canada. The benefits rewarded to Albertans and Canadians from these industries is incomparable.
What’s surprising is that we just completed a provincial election in Alberta, and a federal election, yet the growth of these industries and the many opportunities it offers or the importance our vibrant agri-food industry provides, are rarely mentioned.
As Kim stated, “The journey continues …”