Abby Kadyk

Exploring the complex intersection of factors leading to the decline of small-to-midsize farms in Alberta, including economic, social, and governmental influences.

Visualizing the Problem

Over the last fifty years, the agriculture industry in Alberta has been on a steady decline. The number of small-to-midsize farms is dwindling and the amount of skilled farmers calling it quits is increasing, all while massive farm corporations continue to expand and profit disproportionately. Despite the agricultural decline, Alberta’s farming industry remains a source of good news, as it continues to produce a surplus of grains, vegetables, and meat, sustaining both Alberta and a large part of Canada. As a result, food insecurity isn’t expected to pose a risk in the foreseeable future. On the downside, as the number of farms in Alberta decreases, the prices of groceries will persistently increase. This situation isn’t due to the province’s diligent farmers, who have no influence over pricing. So, why is the industry dying? There are simply more people leaving farming than there are people entering the workforce. But it is far more complex than this — family farms lack the necessary resources to properly succession plan with many youth who have grown up on farms being highly influenced by societal pressures and values to get an education and a high-paying career. Additionally, with the Canadian and American governments perpetuating an unfair market supply chain that makes earning a sustainable profit nearly impossible for farmers to obtain, along with widespread inflation nationwide, farms in Alberta are facing significant challenges. Exploring all these aspects and numerous other intricacies reveals the complex dynamics of the agriculture scene.

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