Farm Debt Outstanding

Detailed information for 2022





Record number:


The Farm Debt Outstanding survey measures the total amount of mortgage and non-mortgage farm debt.

Data release - May 25, 2023; November 28, 2023 (revised data)


The Farm Debt Outstanding survey measures the total amount of mortgage and non-mortgage farm debt as of December 31 of each year by class of lender.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other federal and provincial departments use the data to develop, administer and evaluate agricultural policies and programs. Governments, universities and the private sector also use the data for industry performance measurement and market development.

Reference period: December 31

Collection period: During the six-week period prior to data release.


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

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all private and public entities which offer loans to farm operators.

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 and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Data on farm debt outstanding to chartered banks, federal government agencies and provincial government agencies are obtained by requesting data directly from organizations. Data on mortgage and non-mortgage debt is collected from the Bank of Canada and federal and provincial agencies the preceding December 31 and any revisions to information previously provided.

There are several sources of information on debt outstanding for federal government agencies. Farm Credit Canada provides estimates of loans outstanding made under the Farm Credit Corporation Act. Loan information is also provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Information is also gathered from many provincial government agencies. Newfoundland and Labrador Business Investment Corporation, Prince Edward Island Commercial and Resource Lending Division of Finance Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board and New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is obtained from the administrative data held by these agencies. In Quebec, An Act respecting the Société de financement agricole (Loi sur la Société de financement agricole) loan information regarding debt outstanding is mainly obtained from La Financière agricole du Québec. The rest of the farm credit programs offered by the Quebec government are all of a guarantee nature; the province simply guarantees the borrower an interest rate or the lender against defaults.

Information about the Ontario Tile Drainage Debenture Program is obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation and the Agricultural Credit Corporation of Saskatchewan both report loan information directly. Alberta Agriculture Financial Services Corporation and Revenue Services of British Columbia loan information are obtained from the administrative data of these two agencies. Alberta Treasury Branch information is obtained directly from that agency.

Estimates of agriculture debt outstanding to credit unions are based on provincial data supplied by the Industrial Organization and Finance Division (IOFD) of Statistics Canada.

The category "private individuals and supply companies" includes credit owed to machinery and finance companies, dealers, stores and private individuals. Information regarding this type of credit is based on the Farm Financial Survey (FFS, record number 3450).

Insurance and other unclassified company estimates are based on information from the FFS.

Data on loans made under the Advance Payments Program are collected from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. These payments are a type of loan made to farmers since no transaction occurs at the time of the advance. Prior to 1971 the estimates were included in cash receipts under the category "CWB net cash advances".

Error detection

The administrative data used in the series are assessed based on historical and current trends, subject matter expertise, and information obtained through discussion with industry authorities. Much of the administrative data are already audited by the source organization. Any anomalies or inconsistencies detected are verified with the source, and, where necessary, adjustments are made to reconcile data with the conceptual framework of the farm debt series.


This methodology does not apply.


Provincial agencies provide data based on a fiscal year ending March 31. For these institutions, the debt outstanding at the fiscal year-end, March 31, is used to represent the debt at December 31 of the previous year.

The Bank of Canada reports both mortgage and non-mortgage farm debt outstanding to chartered banks. Mortgage debt is available at the Canada level only while non-mortgage debt is available at the provincial level. Prior to 1997, provincial estimates were calculated based on the distribution pattern of non-mortgage loans. Starting in 1997, provincial estimates have been calculated based on the distribution pattern of the value of farmland and buildings.

Debt outstanding to private individuals, supply companies, insurance companies and others is estimated based on the results of the Farm Financial Surveys.

Quality evaluation

Data are analyzed for time series consistency, links to current economic events, issues arising from the source data, and respect to coherence.

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, at the end of May and at the end of November. In May, preliminary estimates for the previous calendar year are released and data for the year prior is subject to revision. In November, data for the previous two years may be revised. Revisions to the farm debt series are usually minor and are primarily due to amended data being received from one or more of the agencies. Historically, at the Canada level, any revision to the total debt outstanding has been less than 4%. To comply with the releasing schedule, there is occasionally need for an organization to provide preliminary year-end figures, which are revised in the subsequent releases.

In March, 2016, the Bank of Canada released revisions to its estimates of mortgage and non-mortgage farm loans for 2013 and 2014 together with 2015 estimates that were compiled using the same methodology. In order to maintain the integrity of debt time series and to better understand the nature and scope of these revisions, they were not fully incorporated into the debt series until the release of intercensal revisions, in November 2018.

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.

Administrative data are generally compiled for an organization's own needs, and not for statistical purposes, however much of the data are already audited by the source organizations.

The administrative agencies used (Bank of Canada, Farm Credit Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and other federal and provincial organizations) are considered to be the best sources available, and data received from them is judged to be of very good quality, even in those circumstances where adjustments have been made to cohere with the conceptual framework of the farm debt series.

For the variables used from the Farm Financial Survey (FFS), its processing procedures help minimize the occurrence of non-sampling errors such as errors introduced during editing, and response errors. Because it is based on a sample rather than the total population, it is subject to sampling errors.

At the Canada level, the 2016 FFS had a coefficient of variation range for total assets and total liabilities of 1.8% to 3.1% respectively.

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