Livestock industry fading on P.E.I.

Potatoes continue to make up about half of farm cash receipts on P.E.I., as the relative value of the livestock industry has been slipping.

Soybeans and blueberries emerging as important crops

The decline of hog farming on the Island has had a large impact on the livestock industry overall. (CBC)

Potatoes continue to make up about half of farm cash receipts on P.E.I., as the relative value of the livestock industry has been slipping.

A report on farm cash receipts, released by Statistics Canada this week, shows that crops are becoming increasingly important for P.E.I. farmers.

Soybeans are becoming an important crop. (iStock)

From 2000 to 2016 cash receipts from livestock have been relatively flat, while crop receipts have increased steadily. In 2000 livestock made up 37 per cent of total receipts. By 2016 that had fallen to 30 per cent.

A big part of that change was the collapse of the hog industry.

A lengthy slump in the hog prices around 2008-09 cut the number of hog farmers on P.E.I. from hundreds to dozens. In 2000 it was a $30 million industry worth almost 10 per cent of farm receipts. In 2016 its value had fallen below $10 million, less than two per cent of farm cash receipts.

Blueberries are increasingly important to farmers and are creating jobs in the processing sector.

While livestock has struggled, new crops are taking up the slack.

Soybeans have emerged from virtually nowhere in 2000 to a $16 million crop in 2016 worth 3.3 per cent of total receipts. Blueberries are another success story, again coming from almost nowhere to being an $8.8 million crop in 2016, 1.8 per cent of total receipts.