Celebrating 150 years of Canadian Agriculture - A timeline

Annex Business Media
September 01, 2017
By Annex Business Media
Explore the past 150 years in agriculture with the Ag150 timeline! 

1867
The newly established Department of Agriculture grants each province jurisdiction over farming concerns. It also allows the Dominion Government to make law in regard to agriculture.

1872
The Dominion Land Act offers agricultural pioneers an opportunity to “prove up” a quarter section of land (160 acres/65 hectares) in western Canada for a $10 filing fee if certain conditions are met.

1886
The Central Experimental Farm is established near Ottawa as the main research station for the federal Department of Agriculture. Early studies focus on entomology, botany and horticulture.

1889
The British Columbia Fruit-Growers' Association is established to foster an export market.

1891
Half of “gainfully occupied males” work in agriculture.

1896
Farmers start using the Oliver Chilled Plow, which could cut through prairie sod.

1908
The world’s first agricultural motor competition is held in B.C.

1913
The first International Plowing Match is held at Sunnybrook farm near Toronto. The event features as entries 31 single-furrow horse-drawn plows with no classes dedicated to tractors.

1915
Canada’s first Boys’ and Girls’ Club, the predecessor to 4-H, is established in Ontario. The vision is to educate children in order to foster an understanding and love of agriculture, which they would then share with their communities.

1918
The federal government buys 1,000 Ford tractors to sell to farmers.

1920
International Harvester Company is the first to offer direct power take-off (PTO), installing it on its 15-30 tractor. In 1945, Cockshutt Farm Equipment Ltd. of Brantford, Ont., is the first to introduce live PTO.

1921
Almost every Canadian farmer is now a horseman with the horse population standing at 3.5 million. That figure would drastically decline in coming years with the rise of mechanized farming.

1922
The first annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is held in Toronto as a tribute to Canadian agriculture. Still held annually at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, it is considered one of the world’s premier indoor agricultural, horticultural and equestrian fairs.

Mid-1920s
The first combine harvesters arrive in western Canada. They combined the tasks of cutting, threshing and separating grain from chaff.

Early 1930s
The first tractors with rubber tires are available.

1935
The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration is established to provide federal financial assistance in response to the global economic crisis. In 1935 the federal government also introduced the Canadian Wheat Board in an attempt to stabilize the market.

1941
The number of Canadian farms peaks at 732,832, with an average farm size of 96-hectares. The number of farms has fallen drastically since then, while the average farm size has more than tripled.

1945
Peter Pakosh files a patent for the grain auger in Toronto. His grain mover employed a screw-type auger with a minimum of moving parts, a totally new application for this specific use.

1948
Fred Beeson, editor of Canada Poultryman magazine, is the first to propose supply management in the Canadian poultry industry. He thought the system would help the country’s egg industry after England cut back its foreign egg purchases following World War II.

1959
Farm Credit Corporation (now Farm Credit Canada) is established under the Farm Credit Act to provide loans to farmers.

1961
Chicken quota is introduced in B.C. Other provinces eventually follow suit.

1971
A national supply management system is implemented for dairy, the first sector in Canada to adopt such legislation.

1972
Quebec’s Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) is formed with the adoption of the Farm Producers Act, making it the united voice for all farmers in the province.

1973
University of Manitoba researcher Elmer Stobbe convinces Jim McCutcheon to try zero-till seeding – seeding directly into the residue of his previous crop. By 1990, the practice overtakes conventional seeding as the predominant cropping practice in most regions of Canada.

1986
The hatching eggs sector adopts supply management, the last of the four poultry sectors to do so.

1994
As part of the Agreement on Agriculture international treaty of the World Trade Organization, Canada and other member nations commit to reducing distortions in agricultural trade through a number of steps.

1995
Canada eliminates the longstanding policy of the Crow Rate, which had subsidized the costs of rail shipment of grain to export points, and other transport subsidies.

1999
North America’s first dairy milk robot is installed at a barn in Woodstock, Ont.

2003
An outbreak of BSE (or mad cow disease) in 2003 costs Canada's cattle industry billions of dollars in lost exports as countries around the world close their borders to Canadian beef.

2004
In B.C., an outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza leads to the culling of 17 million birds.

2004
Quebec implements a quota system for its maple syrup production to adjust the supply based on global demand.

2012
The federal government removes control of wheat exports from the Canadian Wheat Board.

2014
UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) gain in popularity.

2016
Driverless tractors roll out for commercialization at farm shows. The vehicles rely on remote controls, sensors and autonomy.

2017
The National Farm Animal Care Council releases a new code of practice calling on egg producers to phase out the use of conventional cages for laying hens. Farmers have 15 years to convert to either enriched cages or cage-free housing.

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