Farms in Central Saanich generated just over $24.1 million in operating revenues, while facing expenses just in excess of $21 million in 2021.
These figures appear in the Census of Agriculture produced by Statistics Canada. It shows that Central Saanich is home to 152 farms, the most common ones being vegetable and related products (48), chicken, other poultry and egg production (25), fruit and tree nut farming (22) as well as what Stats Canada calls greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production (22). Cattle ranching and farming including beef lots account for 18 farms in Central Saanich.
A closer look, however, shows that more than half of those farms (87) are under 10 acres in size and slightly less than half of operating farms (74) generate less than $10,000 in annual revenue. Some 26 farms generate between $50,000 and $249,000 in operating revenue, two between $250,000 and $499,999, three between $500,000 and $999,999 and four between $1 million and $2 million.
In other words, only a fraction of farming properties in Central Saanich account for the bulk of the farming-generated revenue in the community, while for the vast majority, farming amounts to more or less a hobby or a secondary source of income.
This aspect also appears in the number of agricultural workers in the community. According to Statistics Canada, 29 Central Saanich farms employed 343 total agricultural workers of various categories in 2021. Of those 86 worked full-time year-round with another 49 working part-time year-round. The bulk of workers (208) qualified as seasonal or temporary.
The survey also sheds light on ownership patterns. Sixty-four farms were under sole proprietorship with the same number held in partnership. Twenty-two classified as family corporations with two classified as non-family corporations.
Central Saanich farmers also appear uncertain about what to do with their properties. According to the survey, 16 have written succession plans for their properties with another 28 having verbal succession plans only. The vast majority of properties — 108 — currently lack a succession plan.
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