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Posted: July 17, 2020

Cannabis boosts record 2019 farm sales

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for farmers this year, farm-sales numbers from 2019 show that there is a solid foundation in place to build a path to economic recovery, stated a July 14 Ministry of Agriculture media release.

The 2019 B.C. farm cash receipts show the sector is growing with a record $3.9 billion in sales, according to the ministry.

“For the past three years, our government has been focused on helping farmers farm and strengthening food security. We know the pandemic has impacted farmers greatly this year, but the farming sector’s record economic growth in 2019 sets the sector up for a strong recovery,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province’s self-sufficiency. I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC.”

Areas of growth included a close to $300-million increase in cannabis sales, along with a $47-million increase in dairy sales, a $25-million increase in beef sales and a $17.5-million increase in field vegetable sales.

As government works on the overall economic restart, more British Columbian farm workers are needed to ensure B.C.’s agriculture sector remains strong and well positioned to provide the fresh, local food that people need, through a healthy, robust food system. In every region, farmers and producers play a crucial role in contributing to both the local economy and the overall provincial economy.

“Connecting more British Columbians to agriculture jobs and careers is more important than ever as we work to restart the economy and keep this momentum going,” Popham said. “We are working together with industry as we focus on restarting our farming sector.”

In May, government launched the BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector and a digital campaign is underway to further promote these job opportunities for the summer.

Farm cash receipts refer to the revenues from the sale of agricultural commodities, program payments from government agencies and payments from private crop and livestock insurance programs.

The record $3.9 billion in sales represent an increase of more than 13%, or $462 million more, than 2018.

Other sectors/commodities with increased sales include: eggs – $14 million; nursery – $14 million; chicken – $12 million; blueberries – $7 million; grapes – $5.6 million; and grains and oilseeds – $2.7 million.

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