Acreage disappears in farming statistics

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: Some clarification is needed on the information provided to the Guardian by the Department of Agriculture on Jan. 6, (This is the year of the Family Farm). It stated that in recent decades the number of farms on P.E.I. has dropped from 15,000 to under 1,500. It also stated that the approximate size of the 15,000 farms was 90 acres, and that the average today is around 300 acres. Do the math. That would mean there were 1,350,000 acres of ‘farmland’ back when, and only 450,000 today. What happened to the 900,000 acres unaccounted for? Someone needs to go back to the drawing board.

The article also repeated the common shibboleth that, “Today’s farms are much more productive and efficient....” It raises the question as to whether the loss of 13,500 farm units, and the “decline, if not the decimation of many rural communities” should be described as efficient. The analysis from this perch seems rather narrow.

Surely in the big picture the transition has been hugely inefficient, and detrimental to rural P.E.I. And, predictably, there is no mention of the hidden cost of the degradation of Island soil that is the by-product of industrial monoculture.

At worst, the article was disingenuous. At best, confusing.

Having said all that, one can only hope that it represents, policy-wise, some small turning away from the present model of farming toward one that is more friendly to both the land and those who farm.

David Weale,

Charlottetown

Organizations: Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland, Charlottetown

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