Agriculture: A growing economy

Alberta is a major Canadian agri-food producer and exporter.

Alberta is one of Canada’s largest and most diverse agricultural producers. The Alberta government reports that in 2015 the province set a record for exports of primary and processed agricultural and food products (agri-food) of $10.2 billion, up 4.5 per cent from the previous year. Exports of one of Alberta’s best known foods, beef, jumped by more than 19 per cent in 2015, fuelled by a growing demand for quality meat in the United States, Mexico and China.

Wheat is Alberta’s top crop, with more than 500 million tonnes produced and exports of more than $2.4 billion. The province’s other well-known agri-food exports include processed potatoes and meats, canola oil, prepared animal feed and malt. Alberta’s largest export market for agricultural products is the United States (39.3 per cent of total agri-food exports). Our other top-ranking markets in 2015 were China (15.6 per cent), Japan (10.8 per cent) and Mexico (5.6 per cent).

More than 179,000 Albertans work in the province’s food and beverage industry, with another 89,000 directly employed in agri-food production.

In terms of food spending, in 2014, the average Alberta household spent $8,740 on food (8.7 per cent of total household expenditures), compared to the national average of $8,109 (or 10 per cent of total household expenditures).

If you’re talking agriculture, Calgary is a great place to get the conversation started.