Organic Farming in the Prairies Report Published

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Oct. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Prairie Organic Development Fund (PODF) commissioned the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) to produce a report on the state of Organic Agriculture in the Prairies (2019 Data). The report, published annually since 2015, is the only resource available that provides an in-depth analysis of the organic operations and acreage across the Prairie provinces. Data are aggregated from CFIA accredited certification bodies that operate in the Prairie region.
The Canadian Prairie represents a significant portion of Canada’s organic production with 80% of all organic field crops, 95% of all organic pulses, 92% of all organic cereal grains and 85% of the nation’s organic hemp crop.Between 2014 and 2018, Prairie organic farm numbers and acres grew at a significant rate, but growth slowed in 2019. However, organic services and food processing continued on-pace in 2019 with a 9% increase in certified operations over 2018.
Key Findings:Certified organic operations increased slightly from 1,936 in 2018 to 1,981 in 2019, primarily due to strength in the organic processing and handlers sector (includes primary processing such as seed cleaning, food processing, grain handling, etc.).The Prairies continue to be a key contributor to the organic sector in Canada, albeit with a decrease from 56% in 2018 to 50% in 2019 of total certified organic acreage.Organic acreage declined from 1.8 million acres in 2018 to 1.7 million acres in 2019.The number of organic processors/handlers increased by 25, reaching 293 in 2019.60% percent of Prairie acreage is in Saskatchewan (SK), 32% in Alberta (AB), and seven percent in Manitoba (MB); 55% percent of Prairie producers are in SK, 35% in AB and 10% in MB.Overall, there was a decrease of 21,627 field crop acres between 2018 and 2019, with much of that decrease due to declines in wheat (18,400 acres) followed by pulses (14,800 acres). Barley was a bright spot, with over 9,000 additional acres planted in AB (11,344 total).Saskatchewan demonstrated the largest acreage decline, with 119,099 fewer acres, followed by Alberta at 6,214 fewer acres. Manitoba was the only Prairie province to post an increase in acreage, with 6,513 acres added.The decrease in total acres was primarily due to a loss of 100,320 acres in the pasture forage and natural area category, a decline of 13%The operation and acreage data for this report was voluntarily supplied by certification bodies to COTA for analysis and release. COTA and experts in the organic sector conducted secondary research and analysis on the data provided to create this report.
To download a copy of the report please visit our website for a free download.PODF Media Contact:
Marla Carlson – President, Prairie Organic Development Fund
c: 306-535-3456 e: [email protected] a: 311 – 845 Broad Street, Regina, SK, S4R 8G9
Provincial Media Contacts:
Alberta: Marilynn Boehm, Executive Director, Organic Alberta e: [email protected] t: 587-521-2400
Manitoba: Elizabeth Karpinchick, Manitoba Organic Alliance e: [email protected] t: 204 894-5395
Saskatchewan: Marla Carlson, Executive Director, SaskOrganics e: [email protected] t: 306-535-3456
About the Prairie Organic Development Fund
The Prairie Organic Development Fund was incorporated in 2015 under the federal Not-for-profits Act as an investment platform for building the organic sector in the Canadian Prairies. PODF provides supplemental core funding to three Prairie organic associations (Organic Alberta, SaskOrganics and the Manitoba Organic Alliance) with a mandate to build the organic sectors in their provinces. PODF funding provides organizational capacity to hire staff, to fund-raise, to introduce new programs and to be responsive to stakeholders – organic farmers, food processors, buyers and sellers and others within the industry.
About the Canada Organic Trade Association
The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based trade association for the organic sector in Canada, representing growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmer associations, distributors, consultants, retailers, and all points along the organic value chain. COTA promotes and protects the growth of organics to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy.

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