The County of Renfrew has a strong history of agriculture and rural living. Although originally developed in conjunction with the forest industry, a vibrant agriculture community developed on the more arable lands of the County. The predominant agricultural area of the County is located on the sedimentary deposits of the Champlain Sea which are found in a broad area between Arnprior and Petawawa. There are also numerous pockets of good quality farmland located throughout the County.
The fields of the agricultural areas of the County contain bountiful crops of hay, soybean, corn, oats, winter wheat, barley and various fruit and vegetables. The most common farm types in Renfrew County are beef, field crops, oil seeds & grains, other crops and dairy. Sheep & goat farming and specialty farms are also becoming an important part of the agricultural economy. Specialty farms include farms producing fruit, vegetables, maple syrup, nurseries products and honey.
A close look at the local agricultural sector shows that it has a significant economic impact within Renfrew County. The 2016 Census of Canada (Agriculture) observed that there were 326,935 acres of farmland within the County, 147,277 acres (45%) of which were in field crops. Total farm receipts, excluding forestry products, were $109,477,989 and direct employment, including employees and farm operators, was 1967.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), for 2017, calculated that the extended economic impact resulting from the agri-food value chain within the County of Renfrew contributed to the employment of 6,178 people, contributing well over $348 million to the County’s Gross Domestic Product.