Farm Business Cash Flows

Detailed information for 2010





Record number:


Farm business cash flows provide annual measures of cash flows into and out of farm businesses over a calendar year.

Data release - June 16, 2011; January 18, 2012 (revised)


Farm business cash flows provide annual measures of cash flows into and out of farm businesses over a calendar year. The account displays the cash received (cash sources) and the cash disbursed (cash uses) by farm businesses from agricultural production activities. It also displays the cash flows from non-production activities such as the change in the level of farm loans outstanding and the net capital purchases. Farm loans held by non-operators and capital invested in agriculture by non-operators are not taken into account.

Farm business cash flows relate only to the farm business and hence exclude any income that farm operators or their families may receive from non-farm related sources (wages and salaries, investment income, etc.). The account pertains to the production and marketing of agricultural commodities but also includes farm-related income such as custom harvesting and feeding and forestry sales.

Farm business cash flows account are of interest to farmers and their organizations, governments, financial institutions, the agri-food industry and the public. The numbers are used to assess the state of the agricultural industry and to form the basis of various policy options.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: During the three-week period prior to release.


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

Data sources and methodology

Target population

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

Instrument design

Not applicable.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Sales of primary production are estimated using data from the Net Farm Income (survey ID 3473) and The Farm Financial Survey (FFS) (survey ID 3450). They include the sales of agricultural products to farms outside the province of production, the sales to other (non-farm) sectors but exclude forest product sales and share rent paid to non-operator landlords.

Sales of secondary production correspond to the sales of forest products (wood harvested from farm woodlots). They are obtained from the Farm Cash Receipt derived survey.

Program payments and Government rebates are obtained, from the derived survey Net Farm Income (survey ID 3473). The agencies responsible for the disbursement of payments under the various programs provide data on a monthly, quarterly and, in some cases, an annual basis. Only payments or rebates tied to agriculture production and paid directly to farmers are included in these derived surveys.

Custom work receipts are obtained from the Taxation Data Program (survey ID 3447).

Dividends and interest are estimated using data from the derived survey Balance Sheet of the Agricultural Sector at December 31 (survey ID 5029) and the Bank of Canada.

Expenses on inputs are obtained from the derived survey Agriculture Value Added Account (survey ID 5030).

Business taxes correspond to the property taxes expenses and are obtained from the derived survey Net Farm Income.

Interest expenses are obtained from the derived survey Net Farm Income.

Cash wages to hired labour and Cash rent to non-operators are estimated using data from the derived survey Net Farm Income, The Farm Financial Survey (FFS) and the Census of Agriculture.

Net change in loans outstanding, which represents the change in loans held by farm operators, is estimated from the derived survey Farm Debt Outstanding (survey ID 3472) and The Farm Financial Survey (FFS).

Net capital purchases, the capital investments made by farm operators net of capital sales, are derived using data from The Farm Financial Survey (FFS).

Error detection

Macro editing is used. Editing is done at the provincial level. The method most often used is comparison with the previous year to detect substantial differences.


No imputation is done for this statistical program.


A full description on estimation is provided in the attached document.

Quality evaluation

The quality of farm business cash flow estimates is evaluated by checking the consistency of these data with other sources or previous occasions. An interpretative analysis is also conducted. Much of the data that goes into the calculation of farm business cash flows comes from the derived surveys Net Farm Income (survey ID 3473) and Farm Debt Outstanding (survey ID 3472), which are based on administrative programs. Much of the administrative data are already audited by the source organizations. Both the input data and net farm income estimates, which are prepared and/or derived, are closely scrutinized by our provincial counterparts and personnel in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the "work in progress agreements". Anomalies that are found by these experts are thoroughly investigated prior to release.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data are published twice each year, in January and June. In June, data for the previous two calendar years are subject to revision. In January, data for three calendar years are released (e.g. in January 2009, revised data for 2007, 2006 and 2005 were available). Every five years a historical revision is done based on the results of the Census of Agriculture (survey ID 3438). The results of the latest intercensal revision, based on the 2006 Census of Agriculture apply to the period 1997 to 2007.

Data accuracy

No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. The quality of the estimates can be inferred from analysis of revisions and from a subjective assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of the estimates.

Farm business cash flows are estimated mainly from the derived surveys Net Farm Income and Farm Debt Outstanding, which are derived using data from various surveys and administrative sources. The quality of the surveys and administrative data used in compiling Net Farm Income and Farm Debt Outstanding is considered to be good.

It is important to note that these data are subject to error. Administrative data may contain non-sampling error such as keying mistakes, while survey data may carry other non-sampling and sampling errors.

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