Direct Payments to Agriculture Producers

Detailed information for 2023





Record number:


The direct program payments to producers include most payments made directly to agriculture producers under federal, provincial and municipal agriculture programs, as well as payments made under private programs such as private hail.

Data release - February 29, 2024


Direct program payments to producers include the amounts paid under government agricultural programs and agricultural programs funded by the private sector. The latter being insurance programs funded totally by premiums paid by producers. Only those payments related to current agricultural production and paid directly to individuals involved in agricultural production are included. These cover:

- subsidies to encourage production,
- subsidies to compensate producers for low market returns,
- payments to stabilize income,
- subsidies to reduce expenditures on farm inputs, and
- payments to compensate producers for crop or livestock losses caused by extreme climatic conditions, disease or other reasons.

Funding for the various agricultural programs under which direct payments are made is provided by the federal, provincial or municipal governments, is cost shared by various levels of government as well as producers themselves or comes from premiums totally funded by producers. In those instances where producers contribute to the funding of programs, the premiums associated with these programs are treated as an operating expense.

Direct program payments are reflected in the farm cash receipts (record number 3437) and operating expenses series (record number 5214) and, thus, in the net farm income estimates (record number 3473). The expenses series includes rebates or subsidies made to reduce input expenditures and, where applicable, the expenditures incurred by producers in the funding of programs. All other direct payments are included in the farm cash receipts series.

The direct program payments series does not attempt to cover all payments made to producers nor does it represent total government expenditures under all assistance programs.

The following types of payments are excluded:

- indirect payments
- transfer payments
- capital grants

Federal, provincial and municipal programs providing direct payments to producers represent one aspect of assistance. Indirect payments, which are more predominant in some provinces than in others, also provide assistance to producers.

Indirect payments to producers are provided under various programs. Payments are considered indirect when government funds are directed to a third party, outside the agriculture sector, for the benefit of producers. The boundaries of the sector extend to the first transaction point between agricultural producers and the purchasers of farm products. As well, the boundaries are limited on the input side by the first transaction point between agricultural producers and the suppliers of farm inputs. Most of the indirect payments either reduce producers' purchase costs of farm inputs or enhance returns from the sale of farm products. A wide variety of programs provide indirect payments, including those that reduce property taxes, transportation costs, fuel costs or interest costs as well as those directed at research, marketing or promotion.

Transfer payments are directed at individuals rather than at a specific industry. Payments such as training allowances are excluded from the direct program payments series because they are not directed at the agriculture industry but to individuals, regardless of their occupation.

A number of agricultural programs provide capital assistance grants. These grants are available directly to producers in order to improve or increase storage facilities or to assist in the purchase of equipment. Capital grants are excluded from the direct program payments series because they are not related to current production.


National and provincial estimates of rebates paid directly to farmers represent a reduction in business costs incurred in the production of agricultural commodities. Rebates, paid by various governments, are calculated on a calendar year basis.

The rebate estimates include all payments made directly to producers under federal, provincial and municipal expense reducing programs. Administrative data are obtained directly from provincial departments of agriculture and of finance.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: During the six weeks prior to the release.


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Farm financial statistics

Data sources and methodology

Target population

All Canadian agriculture operations as defined by the Census of Agriculture.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files.

All payments data are extracted from administrative sources. Data are collected primarily from provincial crop and livestock insurance corporations, provincial agriculture departments and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Error detection

Macro provincial program data received from administrative sources are analysed during the collection period. Comparisons are made with previous periods (where applicable) and follow-up with the data providers is done where required.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


Direct program payments represent the amounts actually received by producers on a calendar year basis. Although a program may be established in a given year, the payments to producers may be spread over two or more calendar years. In all cases, program payments are allocated to the year during which they are actually received by producers.

Estimates of net farm income encompass direct program payments either in the farm cash receipts or the farm operating expenses and depreciation charges series.

Direct program payments to producers are shown explicitly in farm expenses. Where rebates apply, gross expense estimates are followed by rebates and then net expenses. Program premiums paid by producers are included in the "Stabilization premiums" and "Crop and hail insurance" categories.

Quality evaluation

As indicated above, the direct program payments are estimated using administrative sources of data. Where necessary, data are adjusted to ensure conceptual consistency with the program payments series. Quality is evaluated by checking the consistency of these data within the time series.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Annual estimates of direct payments are published twice each year, at the end of May and at the end of November. At each release, data for the previous two calendar years are subject to revision. Every five years a historical revision is done based on the results of the Census of Agriculture (record number 3438).

Due to the nature of the data used in the program payments series, revisions have not been frequent and, when they have occurred, they have usually been quite small.

Data accuracy

The data obtained have been summarized from the financial transactions of individual producers. These summarized data are often subject to audit by independent professional accountants and/or are used to make payments to individual producers. As a result, the quality of these data is considered to be very good. However, the data are subject to the general nonsampling errors present in all types of administrative data.


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