An aerial view of a farm and fields.

Canadian town seeking Australian farmers and Agrifood investors

Food and Agriculture
Published On
September 17, 2020

Although rising global temperatures by just two to three degrees will most likely cause crop failures in many other parts of the world, Canada, and more specifically prairie provinces, like Alberta, are seeing the opening up of millions of once frigid acres to the plow.

The community of Parkland County, located 20 miles west of the City of Edmonton, part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, and located on the CANAMEX corridor, is inviting Australian farmers and investors to explore its opportunities in food/beverage processing, production, logistics and distribution thanks to take advantage of  its strategic location, exceptional infrastructure and easy access to its new agricultural resources

Agriculture represents the largest use of land in the region, with roughly 1.7 million acres of farms covering 80% of the land. Conditions in the region are well-suited for grains, oilseeds, pulses, cannabis, hemp, and livestock production. The region has been making strides in diversifying its agriculture industry, turning to cannabis and hemp as its latest area of focus. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is one of the few locations in the world that has never experienced a region-wide crop failure.

In 2016, Alberta exported approximately $10 billion in agri-food products. Fifty percent of the seed potatoes grown on the 10,000 seed potato acres in Alberta are exported, with the majority of exports earmarked for the USA and other international markets.

Almost all Canadian agricultural air traffic to Asia routes through the Edmonton International Airport due to its 24-hour freight services and shortest-in-Canada flight times.

 According to Ian Jarvis, a senior official with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a government department, in the country’s three prairie provinces alone – vast swaths of flat land in central Canada covering an area more than twice the size of France – the amount of arable land could rise between 26 and 40 percent by 2040!

The community of Parkland County, located 20 miles west of the City of Edmonton, part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, and located on the CANAMEX corridor, is ideally suited for food/beverage processing, production, logistics and distribution thanks to its strategic location, exceptional infrastructure and easy access to agricultural resources.

For all of the above reasons, numerous food processing companies, including those listed below, chose to locate operations in Parkland County and adjacent areas:

  • Champion Pet Foods established in January 2020 in Parkland County a 421,000 square foot facility that employs about 200 people. Referred to internally as the NorthStar Kitchen, the operation features three dry food production lines (Acana and Orijen dog and cat food) as well as a distribution warehouse and logistics center. Parkland County offers easy access to rich resources and suppliers of proteins, grains and vegetables found in the Prairies.
  • Cargill has a hamburger meat patty plant located in Spruce Grove that produces 3 million hamburger patties a day for global customers including McDonalds Canada. They also produce 1500 tons a day of canola oil and 2000 tons of canola meal for animal feed out of their Camrose facility located 45 minutes outside of Edmonton.
  • Whole Leaf established 11 acres of greenhouses in Coadale, AB that produces 40-60,000 heads of lettuce (6 days a week) supplies all of Wendy’s 300 Canadian chain restaurants.
  • For nearly a decade, Canyon Creek has been creating delicious foods for grocery retailers, restaurant chains, and other foodservice institutions throughout Canada. It operates in both the food service and retail channels and manufactures all products out of a plant located in Edmonton.
  • Started with 600 colonies in 1979, TPLR Honey Farms, located in Parkland County, has since expanded to 3,300 colonies for honey production. Honey produced is sold across Canada and exported to North America and Asia.

“Regarding assets, Parkland County has a wealth of options to offer prospective investors” said, Robert Fernandez, Director of Economic Diversification of Parkland County. “We have fantastic industrial areas in our Acheson Park, which is uniquely positioned on a major transportation corridor. We have ready rail access with spurs into industrial zones that attract a variety of users from heavy industrial, agriculture and logistics.”