Frequently asked questions—Census of Agriculture

What is a census test?

Statistics Canada conducts a census test to evaluate new and modified questions in the questionnaires and the collection procedures and tools in preparation for the 2026 Census of Population and the 2026 Census of Agriculture.

Testing ensures that quality data to support a wide variety of programs are available in 2026. From questionnaire design to data collection, we are conducting most of the activities that will be done for the 2026 Census.

What kinds of questions are asked on the 2024 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire?

The 2024 Census of Agriculture Test will collect data on topics such as farm operators; farm area; land management practices; livestock inventories and crop area; farm capital; and farm vehicles, machinery, and equipment.

The information collected will be analyzed and will help inform the final content for the 2026 Census of Agriculture questionnaire.

Is the 2024 Census of Agriculture Test mandatory?

The 2024 Census of Agriculture Test is conducted on a voluntary basis. However, your responses, and those of other farmers across Canada, help us to assess respondents' understanding of the questionnaire content.

Census of Agriculture information is used to support market development and improve programs and services for the agrifood and agricultural sector. We are relying on you to ensure that the 2024 Census of Agriculture Test results are as accurate as possible, because your farm is unique and cannot be replaced by another.

The information provided is carefully reviewed and helps Statistics Canada ensure that the 2026 Census of Agriculture questions are easily understood by respondents.

Why is the 2024 Census Test conducted during such a busy time for farmers?

The timing of the Census of Population Test and the Census of Agriculture Test is driven by the need to maximize the number of Canadians who are at home during enumeration. The Census of Agriculture also saves millions of taxpayer dollars by sharing some costs with the Census of Population.

Statistics Canada understands that completing the Census of Agriculture Test can be a time constraint for farmers at this time of year, so to minimize the burden, we are

  • making the questionnaire available online and compatible with most electronic devices
  • replacing specific questions with information previously provided to other Statistics Canada surveys; federal, provincial, or municipal departments; or farm associations.
Who should complete the 2024 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire?

Any selected person responsible for operating a farm or an agricultural operation should complete a 2024 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire.

Participation is important so that the information collected is as accurate and complete as possible. Each agricultural operation selected represents a segment of the agriculture community, and each response is needed so that the results are representative of the various sectors within the industry.

How does participating in the 2024 Census Test benefit operators?

When agricultural operators complete and return a 2024 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire, they add another perspective to the interpretation of the questions. This information will help inform the final content of the 2026 Census of Agriculture questionnaire.

How many farms are selected?

Approximately 10,000 farms across Canada have been selected to participate in this census test.

Are hobby farms included in the 2024 Census Test?

Yes. Farms with very low farm revenues—sometimes called "hobby farms"—are included in the Census of Agriculture Test, as long as they produce agricultural products and report revenues or expenses for tax purposes to the Canada Revenue Agency.

How do I complete the questionnaire if I do not know what products my operation will be producing this early in the year?

If you have not seeded, grown, raised or produced agricultural products as of May 14, 2024, but intend to do so this year, please complete the questionnaire with your best estimate, as long as you produce agricultural products and report revenues or expenses for tax purposes to the Canada Revenue Agency.

How are agricultural operator and agricultural operation defined?

The Census of Agriculture defines an agricultural operator as any person responsible for management decisions for a farm or agricultural operation. Management decisions are decisions about a variety of important business matters, including (but not limited to) area of land cultivated, types of crops grown, types of livestock raised, types of inputs used, hiring of workers, investment in assets, financial decisions, and marketing of agricultural products or livestock. A farm can have more than one operator, such as a husband and wife, a father and son, two sisters, or two neighbours.

The Census of Agriculture defines an agricultural operation as a farm or agricultural holding that produces agricultural products and reports revenues or expenses for tax purposes to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Agricultural products include:

Crops:

  • hay and field crops (hay, grains, dry field peas, dry beans, potatoes, coriander and other spices, field cut flowers, etc.)
  • field vegetables (all vegetables, sweet corn, green peas, green and wax beans, herbs, rhubarb, melons, garlic, gourds, etc.)
  • sod, nursery products and Christmas trees
  • fruits, berries or nuts (apples, other fruit trees, grapes, blueberries and other berries, saskatoon berries, nectarines, hazelnuts, etc.)
  • seeds.

Poultry:

  • chickens for eggs
  • chickens for meat
  • chickens for breeding
  • turkeys
  • geese
  • ducks
  • other poultry (roosters, ostriches, emus, pheasants, quail, pigeons, silkies, Taiwanese chickens, etc.)
  • commercial poultry hatcheries.

Livestock:

  • cattle and calves
  • pigs
  • sheep and lambs
  • other livestock (horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, bison, elk, deer, wild boars, mink, fox, donkeys, mules, chinchillas, etc.).

Animal products:

  • milk and cream
  • eggs
  • wool
  • fur
  • meat.

Other agricultural products:

  • greenhouse products
  • mushrooms
  • maple products
  • bees owned for honey or for pollination.

Other products or activities considered to be agricultural operations, according to the Census of Agriculture:

  • wild rice harvesting
  • alfalfa or bean sprouting
  • mushrooms growing on logs in a controlled environment
  • wineries, if they grow any grapes or fruit
  • garden centres, if they grow any of their products
  • hay processing or dehydration plants, if they grow hay on land they own or lease
  • horse boarding, riding or training services.

The following are not considered agricultural operations, according to the Census of Agriculture:

Operations that harvest, raise, grow, produce or offer only:

  • peat moss
  • top soil
  • gravel
  • fish (wild or aquaculture)
  • silviculture products
  • wild cones, wild Christmas trees, logs, firewood, pulpwood, evergreen boughs, etc.
  • wild berries, wild plants, wild mushrooms, etc.
  • all wild animals
  • racing pigeons
  • worms
  • crickets, rats, mice, etc. for pet stores
  • laboratory animals
  • all pets (dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, guinea pigs, finches, budgies, etc.), including kennels for pets.
Why is the same questionnaire used for all types of agricultural operations?

The 2024 Census of Agriculture Test uses the same questionnaire for operations across Canada to ensure consistency and keep development costs down. Every effort is made to keep the questionnaire as concise as possible to minimize respondent burden.

What has changed from the 2021 Census of Agriculture?

Some questions on the 2024 test questionnaire have been updated to reflect changes in the agriculture industry, and others have been replaced with information collected from other sources.

Changes to specific areas:

  • Administrative data could replace sections on paid labour, greenhouses and maple trees tapped.
  • Questions on gross farm receipts and operating expenses were removed and replaced with administrative data.
  • New categories for organic products and poultry were added.
  • The question on land practices was updated to ask for area.
  • Nectarines, hazelnuts, and greenhouse lettuce were added as possible commodities.
  • Cannabis operations are now excluded from the Census of Agriculture.
Can a person be identified by the information they provide?

No. Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality and security of individual questionnaires. Stringent procedures are followed to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times. Any information that could identify an individual will not be disclosed.

Census test data are not released or published in any form, including as historical records.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects your confidentiality, security and privacy, please visit Frequently asked questions—Security and privacy.

When will census test results be available to the public?

The information collected as part of the 2024 Census Test is only used to prepare for the 2026 Census. Data, results and analyses will not be released or published. Once they are analyzed, test records will be destroyed.