The vision of a Farmer starts when we are very young in our first story books, so you can understand how the Farmer steryotyped to most at a very young age. Our first books show the Jolly Fellow and his Happy Wife with the chickens running around, a cow with calf or two, a horse, a sheep, a pig - very diversified farming. However, this is a rare find now a days. Most farmers specialize in one or two different types of farming. I am involved with my family in a beef cattle operation, where the beef cattle operations generally breaks into 3 divisions.
Beef Cattle Operations:
Cattle Operations can vary from Cow/Calf producers, Seedstock producers, to Feedlots.
|Cow Calf Operation|
Cow/Calf producers: These operations generally have the majority of their cattle belonging to a specific breed (ie: Hereford, Angus, Limousin, Charolais etc.) and they usually purchase a bull that belongs to a different breed type which give them a crossbred calf. Crossbreeding two different breeds have proven to offer a higher weaning weight than breeding two animals of the same breed. These operations, breed their cows, calve them out, and ship the animals after weaning to a "Backgrounder/Feedlot operation". These operations can range from 10 - 1000 head of cattle.
This operations, often referred to as Intensive livestock Producers, generally purchase the weaned calves from the Cow/Calf operators, in most cases at an auction market. Feedlots, utilize a very scientifically modified feeding program to produce the best meat available at your grocery store. These operations work very efficiently to increase the weight of these animals at approximately 3 - 4 lbs per day. Once they reach the optimal size (1000 - 1400 lbs) they are shipped off to the packing plant for slaughter. These operations will rotate pens based on weights, adding new livestock weekly so there is a consistent number in the feedlot. These operations will vary in size from 1000 - 50,000 head of cattle.
|Purebred Bull at a Livestock Show|
The Seedstock Procucer are also known as Purebred Breeders. Most of these operations will represent one or two breeds of cattle. My family is in this type of the cattle business, and we raise Hereford and Angus Cattle. This type of producer raises replacement females and bulls for the Cow/Calf operator, keeping them all one breed. This type of producer, works on genetic selection, and they are continually working to improve their livestock keeping what the industry is wanting in mind. They keep in mind things like birthweights, sound feet and legs, good milking ability, and muscling. Many of these operations attend livestock shows to market their breeding programs. These operations will vary in size from 40 - 500 head of cattle.
Many beef cattle operations are operated in conjunction with a grain operations of some sort, either just growing feed to sustain the feed supply of this operation, or they will also sell the grain to offer a diversity of the operation.
Below is a chart of many different divisions of Canadian Farming: (source: www.statcan.gc.ca/ca)
|NAICS five-digit classes||Census of Agriculture derived categories|
|Dairy cattle and milk production||Dairy|
|Beef cattle ranching and farming||Beef|
|Hog and pig farming||Hog and pig|
|Chicken and egg production||Poultry and egg|
|Broiler and other meat-type chicken production|
|Combination poultry and egg production|
|Other poultry production|
|Sheep farming||All other animal|
|Horse and other equine production|
|Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production|
|Livestock combination farming|
|All other miscellaneous animal production|
|Soybean farming||Field crops|
|Oilseed (except soybean) farming|
|Dry pea and bean farming|
|Other grain farming|
|All other miscellaneous crop farming|
|Other vegetable (except potato) and melon farming||Fruit and vegetable|
|Fruit and tree nut farming|
|Fruit and vegetable combination farming|
|Mushroom production||Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture|
|Other food crops grown under cover|
|Nursery and tree production|
The next time someone tells you that they are a farmer - please ask what type of farming - farming is a one of the largest industries in Canada, that we need to survive.
Well back to a full day of studying Biology 30 for my last official High School diploma exam. Have a great day!