Agriculture involves the cultivation of plants and animals to produce various products for human consumption. It has played a significant role in Canada's history and development, and continues to figure prominently in the country's economic landscape. Given agriculture's importance, The Canadian Encyclopedia features many articles on the topic, organized in this collection by topic.
The Canadian agri-food industry has become an effective producer and processor of food and feed as the result of the work of innovative, hard-working farmers, good management of land resources, and the application of the technology derived from agricultural research.
Beef cattle farming is a key component of Canadian agriculture. The four Western provinces account for about 85 per cent of beef cattle on Canadian cattle farms, with nearly one-half in Alberta alone. Beef farms make up about one-quarter of all farms in Canada, second only to field crops, while the dollar value of live cattle exports ranks just behind spring wheat, canola and durum exports. Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 per capita consumers and exporters of beef.
For more than a century, the federal government has funded agricultural research through a network of research centres strategically placed in almost every province. This research program has played a major role in developing the more than $120-billion Canadian agrifood industry.
Grain elevators, which have been variously referred to as prairie icons, prairie cathedrals or prairie sentinels, are a visual symbol of western Canada. Numbering as many as 5,758 in 1933, elevators have dominated the prairie landscape for more than a century with every hamlet, village and town boasting its row of them, a declaration of a community's economic viability and a region's agricultural strength.
Today's greenhouse industry uses the most modern technologies, which allow it to reduce their negative effects on the environment, to considerably improve the energetic efficiency of crops (used energy by unit production) and thus to remain competitive in national and international markets.