Country Life in BC

May 15, 2019

Agriculture investment set to surge

by PETER MITHAM

Capital spending by BC agribusinesses is set to rise in 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

Ottawa expects crop and livestock operations in the province to spend $545.6 million on capital projects this year, up 22% from last year. Preliminary calculations indicate that farmers invested $448.6 million last year.

Crop production is the most capital-intensive sector in BC, drawing double the amount of investment that livestock operations did last year. In 2017, the last year for which Statistics Canada has final numbers, crop production saw total investment in new construction, machinery and equipment totaling $244 million versus the livestock sector’s investment of $172 million.

This year, Statistics Canada expects crop production to draw $400.7 million in investment, while investment in livestock operations will edge down 2% to $144.9 million.

The dramatic increases for the agriculture sector reflect surging investment intentions in BC as a whole. Nationally, the average increase is expected to be 2.5%, but the BC average is 12.9%.

Cannabis was not named among the crops fuelling the increase. Greenhouse vegetable production is seeing renewed spending, however, and demand for grapes is spurring vineyard development in the Okanagan. Orchardists are also renovating their properties, with cherry growers expanding into new terrain to meet international demand. [Chris Kloot photo]