Oilseeds and grains leading the way in 2016 Ag CensusMay 31, 2017Hub ArticleIn May, Statistics Canada published the results of last year's Agriculture Census. It reveals some interesting trends in how farms across the country are changing, but especially how Western Canadian farmers are operating. Out west, Census data shows that grains and oilseeds continue to lead the way.More grains and oilseeds on the PrairiesWhen you combine all Prairie farmland (this includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. Peace River), 41,850 farms reported that they produced grains and oilseeds, a 0.4% increase from 2011. The largest regional increase was in the B.C. Peace River (7.3%), while Saskatchewan had a small decline (3.1%).Still, grain and oilseed farming is the largest farm-type on the Prairies. The increase in grain and oilseed farms came, in part, at the expense of animal production, particularly cattle and hogs. Canola remains the most planted commodity in 2016, according to Census data.Expansion of croplandWhile total farm area decreased across Canada, land in crops increased. The growth, largely a Prairie phenomenon, was driven by two factors: A further reduction in summer fallow acresLand was brought back into production after 2011 flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan In Canada, field crops expanded from 69.7 million in 2011, to 78.5 million in 2016, with the Prairies accounting for the majority of the new area.Upward trend for females and young farmersOperators under 35 on the Prairies increased by 6.6% — more than double the change nationally. This marks the first time the number of young farmers has increased since 1991. Conversely, farmers 55 years and over continued to increase at a faster rate and comprise 56% of total farmers on Prairies. The number of single-operator farms managed by a female operator increased. Alberta had the most with 660 – a 31% growth – but Saskatchewan had a larger change, growing 42% to 580 female operators. Across the Prairies, 34% more females are running single-operator farms versus 2011 Ag Census figures.