Agriculture | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Agriculture in Canada

    Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants. In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health. Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article. This is the full-length entry about agriculture in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please Agriculture in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).

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    Alfalfa, or lucerne (genus Medicago), is a herbaceous perennial belonging to the legume family and grown as a forage crop.

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    Animal Agriculture

    Animal agriculture is the practice of breeding animals for the production of animal products and for recreational purposes.

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    Animal Breeding

    Domestication was performed through controlled mating and reproduction of captive animals which were selected and mated based on their behaviour and temperament.

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    Animal Disease

    The tissues and body fluids of animals are subject to the same types of abnormal structural and functional changes as are those of humans. Causes and circumstances may differ but the disease processes are very similar.

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    Animal Issues

    Anything involving animals that creates public interest and publicity, no matter how briefly it maintains that interest, may be considered an animal issue.

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    Animals in Winter

    Winter is the season that begins December 21 (winter solstice) and ends on March 21 (spring Equinox). In Canada cold and snow is associated with this season.

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    Apricot is the common name for certain members of genus Prunus of the rose family, which produce sweet, round or oblong, nearly smooth fruit (resembling a small peach), with a large, flat stone.

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    Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial vegetable of the Lily family. Of Eurasian origin, asparagus was grown for food and medicinal purposes over 2000 years ago.

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    Barley, common name for members of genus Hordeum of the grass family (Gramineae).

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    Basil, seeHERBS.

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    Beef Cattle Farming

    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.

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    Beet (Beta vulgaris), biennial herbaceous plant of the Chenopodiaceae family. There are 4 cultivated varieties: red or vegetable beet, fodder beet (mangel-wurzel), chard and sugar beet.

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    Bison Farming

    In the early 1800s it is reported that over 50 million bison roamed the plains of North America. In the late 1800s, as a consequence of hunting for meat, hides and trophies, and conversion of natural grass to farmland, there were fewer than 1000 plains bison remaining.

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    Broccoli (Brassica oleracea, Botrytis Group) is an annual or biennial vegetable belonging to the Cruciferae family.

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