HH-eagleFacts About Farmland in Canada and Nova Scotia

  • 94% of Canada’s lands cannot be farmed.
  • Only 0.5% of Canada’s lands are Class 1 farmland, which has no significant limitations for farming. However, there is no Class 1 farmland in Nova Scotia.
  • Only 3% of Nova Scotia’s territory is Class 2 farmland. Most of it is in the Annapolis Valley.
  • 18% of Nova Scotia is Class 3 and 8% is Class 4 farmland. Each class is less productive than the one before. Classes 5-7 are not suitable for agriculture.
  • 85% of urban growth in Canada has taken place on Class 1-3 lands.
  • In Nova Scotia, about 7% of urban development is on our precious Class 2 land. Altogether, more than half of our urbanized areas are on Class 2-4 lands.
  • Canadian farmland continues to be lost at an alarming rate due to erosion, salinization and urbanization.
  • Since 1966, over 6 million hectares of land in Canada have been lost from agriculture.

Farm Industries

  • One farmer feeds up to 90 people.
  • 2/3 of the value of Canadian food imports consists of foods that are already grown in Canada commercially. We could feed ourselves, but we don’t.
  • Canadians spend only 15% of their net income directly on food, compared to Europe at 31% and India at 60%.

You can help preserve Annapolis Valley farmland.

The Annapolis Valley’s Importance

orchardsThe Annapolis Valley is referred to as Nova Scotia’s bread basket. Its unique micro climate, fertile soils and skilled farming community make this area one of the most productive and diverse agricultural growing regions in Canada.

The Annapolis Valley is home to the majority of Class 2 farmland in Nova Scotia. Class 2 soil has the least restriction for agricultural production of all the land classes found in this province.

Agricultural soils are a finite natural resource. Preserving them is critical to protecting rural economies, communities and a sustainable agricultural industry. These soils bless us with fresh local food. They also provide significant environmental services to the greater community.

About Agriculture in the Annapolis Valley

HH-from-ridge-rd100_7678Agriculture in the Annapolis Valley is diverse, including dairy, poultry, beef and horticultural farms, including the apple orchards that the Valley is famous for. The direct economic impact of these activities is significant. In 2000, agriculture in the Annapolis Valley generated over $180.1 million in farm receipts, about 38.4% of all farm receipts in Nova Scotia. In the same year, farm operating expenses amounted to approximately $151.6 million.

Farm businesses have a strong local orientation; they both buy and sell in their local community. Indeed, the approximately 840 farms in the Valley create significant economic activity. The number of direct and indirect jobs associated with agriculture and their linkage to other industrial sectors in Annapolis Valley is conservatively estimated at 3550, or approximately 13% of all jobs in the local economy.

In 2001, land in crops accounted for 37.0% of total land use in Annapolis Valley. In the province as a whole, 26% of the crop land in use is in the Annapolis Valley.

Farmland use in Annapolis Valley and Nova Scotia, 2001

Land Use Annapolis Valley (Acres) % Nova Scotia (Acres) %
Land in crops (excluding Christmas tree area) 76,811 37% 294,596 29.3%
Tame or seeded pasture 13,128 6.0% 56,520 5.6%
Natural land for pasture 17,335 8.0% 81,215 8.1%
All other land (including summer fallow and Christmas tree area) 101,559 49.0% 573,502 57.0%
Total 208,433 100.0% 1,005,833 100.0%

You can help preserve Annapolis Valley farmland.

Further reading:

Profile of Agricultural Land Resources in Nova Scotia

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