Thank you very much, Kara.
On slide 9, notwithstanding the challenges mentioned by Tom at the beginning of the presentation, many people in the sector see this sector as having significant potential for economic growth. About two years ago a business-led table formed under the Agriculture and Agri-Food economic strategy table defined five key specific areas that the sector should continue to work on.
Those were regulations; infrastructure; continuing to look at diversifying our markets; thinking about innovation, which is really important for our sector; and of course thinking about our labour and skill sets not just now, but also into the future.
We think about the context of additional real opportunities for the sector. We know on slide 10 that global food demand has been increased by 50%. We think we're ready for that.
We also have to take into account consumer interests and trends that we're seeing. We can certainly talk a little about protein and some of the things we're doing in the context of innovation and superclusters.
When we're thinking about science and emerging digital technologies we should think about big data, precision agriculture, and automation and digitization really taking hold in the sector. We think we're well positioned. We know that trade is a very important aspect of the agriculture sector, and we need to ensure that we're on top of that.
Of course, from a productivity perspective, we are looking at opportunities in climate change also.
Turning to slide 11, again I mentioned reliance on exports. One of the things I should mention that the economic strategy table talked about was to look at both the domestic market, taking advantage of our own market, and also at how we can diversify our own markets globally. Most of you know that we are the only G7 country with trade agreements with all other G7 members. That's really an important feature of our export strategy.
We certainly look at engaging our international standard setting bodies, including the WTO when required.
Slide 12 gives you a bit of a perspective on our export strategy and our exports to countries that we have FTAs with and that we don't have FTAs with. You will see the mix. Just over 75% of our exports go to countries with whom we have FTAs. It gives you a bit of a place marker on our export strategy.
Slide 13 provides some perspective to what that Tom mentioned with regards to some current market and production challenges that we see in the context of global trade. Certainly in some of the recent disputes, we have seen pork and beef prices fluctuate. We're also seeing those prices rebound over the last few months. Tom talked about the weather events that took place in late 2019 and early 2020.
On slide 14, to Kara's point, we are still seeing some underlying strengths. We are seeing exports continue to grow, reaching $67 billion in 2019. We did see significant growth in our food processing sector over the last few years, close to 12.5% until the end of 2018. While we did see some decline in canola exports, we certainly did see some increases in fish and seafood, beef and pork products.
Slide 15 provides a little perspective on our food processing sector. Looking at sales over roughly the last 10 years, again, we've had a steady increase, which is very nice to see. We think this is an untapped area. We certainly think we can do more in the value-added space as well.
Slide 16 provides a little perspective on the distribution of our food and beverage processing shipments. I think we do need to remember that the number one market for our primary agricultural products is the domestic market, representing 42% of primary production. It gives you a flavour of the percentages over 2018, from meat to seafood to baking and, of course, grains and oilseeds.
Next we have a bit of a perspective of the distribution of farms over the last 50 years. We've seen some changes. The average farm size has doubled. The farm value per acre has quadrupled. We have seen a consolidation of a small number of very large farms, with the largest 8% of the farms accounting for over half of farm cash receipts.
That gives you a flavour of the distribution and the breakdown from a farming size perspective.
Next are some demographics in the context of the next generation of farmers. One-quarter of the farm operators are 65 and older. And there are some statistics in the context of women operating farms, as of 2016.
We do need to continue to focus on new entrants to the agriculture community, for sure.
I'm sure the committee has heard of the labour challenges. We tend to look at the labour shortages not necessarily in the here and now, but also at the new skill sets that are going to be required. If you're thinking about technology and precision agriculture, automation, digitization, that will require a new skill set and so we want to make sure that those coming into the agriculture sector have, and can take advantage of, those new technologies in the workplace. That gives you a flavour of the use of automation.
With regard to temporary foreign workers, the government has made some changes. We've included some rural pilots that will, hopefully, help for both the processing and the primary sector.
I believe I will turn it back over to Kara on climate change.