Canadian farmers’ business confidence falls sharply in September

CFIB urging next federal Agriculture Minister to take action to fuel growth, optimism

Winnipeg, October 7, 2021– CFIB’s agriculture Business Barometer® for September reflects the significant challenges faced by many farmers this year, showing a drop of almost 11 points in the agriculture sector’s long-term (12-month) outlook. Among all industries surveyed, agriculture experienced the biggest drop in business confidence to an index of 56.3. The short-term (3-month) outlook softened as well falling by 3.8 points to 53.4.

“This downturn in business optimism is not surprising given drought conditions this year across many parts of Canada,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s prairie region director. “Farmers are also facing high input and fertilizer costs, rising carbon tax and energy costs, a shortage of labour, and the ongoing burden of red tape. Together, these factors are fueling uncertainty and a significant drop in long-term agri-business confidence.”

Agri-business owners were also asked to identify the major cost constraints that were impacting their agri-business in September. The top constraints were:

  • Product inputs (60%)
  • Fuel, energy (55%)
  • Insurance (54%)
  • Taxes/regulations (52%) 

When asked what factors were limiting sales or production growth in their agri-business, the top limitations were:

  • Shortage of skilled labour (35%)
  • Shortage of un/semi-skilled labour (32%) 
  • Shortage of input products (e.g. supply chain) (25%)

Alward added that the Business Barometer® results send a clear message to the incoming federal Agriculture Minister. “The federal government has high hopes for the sector to grow exports to $85 billion by 2025 – the next Minister must focus on policies that fuel optimism and support this growth.”
CFIB will be surveying its agri-business members this fall about what the federal and provincial governments should focus on as they work to construct the next Agricultural Policy Framework set to be rolled out in April 2023. CFIB will be sharing the results with Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers.

“There is a lot of heavy lifting to be done to ensure this next five-year Federal-Provincial-Territorial agreement will help farmers be more competitive and able to adapt to the many challenges which have been magnified by the pandemic. We hope governments are up to the challenge and recognize that this sector must be a top priority given its significant role in Canada’s economy,” concluded Alward.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Meriem Mezdour, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region (including 6,000 agri-businesses). CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at