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Corn, cattle lead rise in Que. ag revenue

Quebec’s farm cash receipts took a jump of over nine per cent in 2008 compared to the previous year, the province’s statistical agency reported Monday.

L’Institut de la statistique du Quebec (ISQ) said Quebec farmers wrapped up their 2008 with farm cash receipts of $7.5 billion, up 9.3 per cent ($637.6 million) from 2007 levels.

The increase includes an additional $444.7 million from crop production and a smaller increase of $235.3 million in livestock-related receipts. It also shows a decline of $42.4 million in program payments.

Crop receipts in 2008 totalled $2.1 billion, up 26.8 per cent from 2007 levels, ISQ said. Of that, the bulk was due to increased volumes (up 31.6 per cent) and prices (26.5 per cent) in grain corn crops, for a total increase of $236.1 million (66.5 per cent) in corn receipts.

The province’s livestock sector saw a 5.8 increase in cash receipts compared to 2007 levels, with all sectors contributing to the increase except for dairy production, which saw its receipts drop by 0.6 per cent.

Back from BSE

Quebec’s non-dairy cattle sector, however, posted a 26.2 per cent increase in cash receipts compared to 2007 levels. ISQ noted that for the first time in 2008, annual cash receipts from the cattle sector passed levels seen before the arrival of Canada’s first domestic case of BSE in 2003.

However, the province’s supply-managed dairy, egg and poultry sectors still form the bulk (60.2 per cent) of the province’s livestock-related receipts, ISQ said.

Program payments, which reached a peak in 2007 at $1.134 billion, dropped 3.7 per cent in 2008 to $1.092 billion after a total rise of 133.3 per cent over the period from 2002 through to 2008, ISQ said.

The buildup in program payments over 2002-08 followed a succession of crises, including BSE, crashing hog prices and declining grain prices. During that period, program payments rose to 14.6 per cent of farm cash receipts, up from 8.5 per cent.

ISQ’s preliminary numbers, meanwhile, point to a 7.6 per cent increase in farm expenses compared to 2007, eating up much of the overall increase in revenues.

In fact, the statistics agency noted, since 2004, the average annual increase in total expenses (5.3 per cent) has followed a rhythm “more elevated” than that of cash receipts (4.8 per cent).

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