Agri-food and forestry
Agriculture has always been a priority for the RCM des Sources. Over the years, such support has been reinforced thanks to the RCM des Sources diversification plan, where the agroforestry and food processing industry emerged as top areas of intervention. The agricultural sector implication is significant when it comes to direct and indirect job creation.
In 2007, the RCM des Sources hosted nearly 225 agricultural businesses, together accounting for about 9.6% of all the companies in the Eastern Townships (2,350 enterprises). These companies’ farm income nearly reaches $56 million, representing 11.6% of the $486.6 M farm income in the Eastern Townships. Also, the RCM focuses on the production of greenhouse crops as well as heavy veal calves. The RCM occupies the region’s top rank in terms of farm income for these two sectors. It also comes in third place in the Eastern Townships for their sheep production revenues.
The global farm income comes primarily from farming (82%): 176 out of the 225 companies get their main source of revenues from farming. Dairy and beef productions are the main sources of revenue and regroup over 64% of the RCM’s agricultural activities, compared to 55% in the Eastern Townships.
Dairy production is mandatory in the RCM and alone represents 47% of the global farm income. Overall, between 1997 and 2007, the number of farming filers gradually decreased all across Quebec. However, the number of fattening pig and heavy veal calf farming filers increased since 1997. During that same period, the number of different agricultural producers decreased from 237 to 224 businesses. The RCM des Sources’ 0.6% decrease is higher than the global Eastern Township RCM average, which is currently at 0.4%.
From 1997 to 2007, the RCM land under cultivation went down by nearly 4% (620 ha) from 16,290 to 15,670 ha. In general, most cultivated crops experienced an area decrease, except for cereals and protein crops as well as fruit and vegetables. Cereal and protein crop cultivation experienced the highest growth and went from 1,805 ha (1997) to 3,119 ha (2007).
Between 2004 and 2012, the number of food processing companies increased by 77%, going from 13 to 23. Half of the RCM agricultural processing companies come from three main food sectors: meat and poultry (26%), honey products (13%), and prepared meals (13%). The RCM des Sources regroups approximately 9% of all the processing companies located in the Eastern Townships. With regard to employment, the food processing companies accounted for 262 permanent and seasonal jobs in 2012 (170 permanent / 92 seasonal jobs).
Furthermore, the RCM also benefits from numerous leading companies (Les Viandes Laroche, Miellerie Lambert, etc.) with diversified offers as well as renowned quality products. The RCM des Sources is also recognized for its culture of R&D powerful innovations in the agri-food industry (VSC, Cultur’Innov, Ranch Lougami).
Throughout the Eastern Townships, the forest canopy covering 66% of the RCM des Sources territory comes from the private sector (88%). Small companies mainly own approximately 77 ha. According to a recent study conducted by the Eastern Township Agence de mise en valeur de la forêt privée (in December 2011), 716 private forest owners are located on the RCM des Sources territory (57% of them are acknowledged as forestry producers).
In 2011, seven (7) wood processing companies employed 66 people on the RCM territory. Furthermore, we account for 60 agricultural and maple producers totalling close to 227,000 tapholes and representing about 6.5% of the global Eastern Township global amount. The average number of tapholes is estimated to 3,800 per RCM des Sources maple processing company.
Statistics Canada, Farm Level Data in 2011.Please note that a number of respondents may declare birch tapholes.