Increase in Canadian Farm Sector Equity Slows in 2023  

Canadian farm equity continued to rise in 2023, but the annual rate of gain slowed compared to the previous two years. 

A Statistics Canada report Thursday pegged the total value of equity in Canada’s farm sector as of Dec. 31, 2023, at $784.7 billion, an increase of $55.1 billion or 7.6% from a year earlier. The past year’s gain follows on the heels of a nearly 13% jump in farm equity in 2022 – the largest increase since 1981 – and a 10% rise in 2021. 

Rising land values were once again the main equity driver in 2023, StatsCan said. The value of total farm assets grew $62.3 billion or 7.2% to $923.5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023, with almost the entire increase due to gains in farm real estate, which was up $60.3 billion or 8.9%. 

In 2022, the value of total assets climbed 12%, with farm real estate up 12.8%. 

According to Farm Credit Canada, 2023 marked the second consecutive year of double-digit increases in the average value of farmland, with last year’s gain of 11.5% the second largest since 2014. FCC reported a 12.8% increase in average farmland values in 2022. 

The value of poultry and market livestock inventories was up $2.1 billion or nearly 19% to $13 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023. StatsCan attributed the increase to higher prices of poultry and market livestock commodities, as inventory levels for most livestock were down. Alberta (+$1.3 billion), Saskatchewan (+$280 million) and Ontario (+$278.6 million) accounted for more than four-fifths of the national gain. 

On the other hand, the value of crop inventories was down $6.6 billion (-21.6%) to $24.1 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023 - the first decline in four years. The decrease was the result of increased crop marketings, which led to lower end-of-year stocks, as well as lower crop prices in 2023 compared with 2022, StatsCan said. 

On the other side of the ledger, StatsCan reported the value of total farm liabilities rose $7.2 billion (+5.5%) to $138.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023, due to an $8.3 billion gain in long-term liabilities, which offset a $1.2 billion drop in current liabilities.  

In 2022, the value of total farm liabilities was up 7.1% to $131.5 billion. 

Total liabilities in 2023 grew in every province, with Ontario (+5.8%), Alberta (+6.7% ), and Quebec (+7.6%) accounting for over three-quarters of the national increase. 

Every province reported growth in farm equity as of Dec. 31, 2023, except British Columbia (-2.1%). Increases ranged from 1.3% in Nova Scotia to 11.5% in Saskatchewan, where farm equity as of Dec. 31 2023 amounted to $161.61 billion.  

Manitoba farm equity increased about 8.7% to $62.79 billion in 2023, while Alberta was up 5.8% at $198.07 billion. Ontario farm equity increased just over 8% on the year to $228.51 billion. 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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