If had not been for cannabis sales, Canadian farmers would have seen their revenues wilt away in 2019.
Revenues from various crop categories topped $36.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 4.1 per cent from the previous year, with the gain attributable to a $1.7 billion increase in licensed cannabis receipts during the first full year of legalized recreational use. Without this increase, crop revenues at the national level would have declined 0.8 per cent.
Statistics Canada, which released the new figures, categorizes cannabis receipts as direct sales of medical and recreational cannabis to consumers, as well as sales to processors of cannabis products. Three of Canada’s four largest provinces by population (Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia in that order) account for almost three-quarters of the national increase.
Overall, the realized net income (revenue minus expenses) of Canadian farmers rose 14.9 per cent from 2018 to $5.5 billion in 2019. Higher livestock receipts coupled with higher cannabis receipts along with increased program payments more than offset rising operating expenses.