Organic Agriculture in the Prairies: 2018 Data

July 8, 2019


New report highlights prairies as a significant contributor to Canadian organics

Canada Organic Trade Association’s latest report shows continued growth of Prairie organic acreage and operations in 2018. This is the fifth report on Prairie organic operations and acreage published by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) and commissioned by the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative.

“The Organic Agriculture in the Prairies 2018 Data Report is one of the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative’s most important outcomes. The report has provided up to date acreage and operator information for Canada’s Prairie Provinces since 2014 which had been lacking until the first report was published. Data is the most basic and essential tool required to help grow and develop the organic sector on the Prairies. We encourage organic farmers, businesses, and governments to use the data and share it widely.” Marla Carlson, SaskOrganics Executive Director.

Key Findings

  • Certified organic operations went up from 1,840 in 2017 to 1,975 in 2018.
  • In 2018, the Prairies represented 27% of Canadian organic operations and 56% of Canadian organic acres.
  • In 2018, for the first time, land used for organic field crop production exceeded that used for livestock forage, green manures, wild crafting, and ecological acres.
  • Since 2009, the number of organic processors in Canada increased by 61, reaching 266 in 2018. The Prairies made up an estimated 181 of these organic processors.
  • As of 2018, the Prairie organic food and beverage markets were collectively valued at over $850 million.

The operation and acreage data for the report was voluntarily supplied by certification bodies across Canada and the United States to COTA for analysis and release. COTA and experts in the organic sector conducted secondary research and analysis on the data provided to create this report.

Click here to read the report


About the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative is a tri-provincial project dedicated to achieving resiliency and stability in the prairie organic sector by focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of organic grains, and developing relationships across organic market value chains. It is funded in part by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

A partnership between Organic Alberta, SaskOrganics, and Manitoba Organic Alliance, the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative is bringing the community together to develop a strong foundation of programs, resources, and relationships upon which the prairie organic sector can truly flourish.

The Initiative focuses on compiling innovative research to create resources for producers that improve best management practices and consequently their resiliency, stability, and profitability. A primary objective is to help farmers increase yields and improve grain quality. The resources train producers to implement best management practices that build soil fertility, manage weeds, and maximize grain quality.

About Canadian Organic Trade Association

The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based association for the organic sector in Canada: representing growers, processors, certifiers, provincial farmers’ associations, importers, exporters, retailers and others throughout the organic value chain. COTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. COTA brings together the diversity of Canada’s organic sector: from farmer and processor to retail, including food products, fibre and textiles, personal care, and emerging sectors such as organic aquaculture.