Agriculture has long been a sector of strength for Alberta. Take some of these stats on for size:
- Alberta has experienced a 19.1% growth in ag and food exports over the last 5 years
- Approximately 71,300 Albertans are employed in agriculture
- Alberta has about one-third of Canada’s agricultural production (is the 2nd largest agricultural producer by revenue), and accounts for over 30% of total farm area in Canada
And it seems as though the pandemic has only heightened our awareness of food systems and the essential role they play in our individual lives.
Over the past several months, the Business Council of Alberta has been listening to the business owners, community leaders and entrepreneurs in various sectors to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted them and what short- and long-term opportunities exist to position these sectors to recover strong and rebuild in a way that all Albertans can have the opportunity to live a good life.
One of the groups—Agriculture & Forestry—has taken those challenges, drivers, and opportunities and developed a strategic action plan to position the sector for sustainable growth throughout the recovery period and beyond. The report, entitled Strategic.Action.Plan. An Industry Plan to Grow Agriculture and Forestry in Alberta, outlines six key planks with recommendations and some small wins for business and government strength and grow the sector.
Scott Bolton, President & CEO of UFA Ltd. and Kim McConnell, founder and former CEO of AdFarm (Kim is regularly called upon by government and businesses to consult on ag-related policy and strategies and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2017) are the principal authors of this report, and they have joined the show to talk about this strategy and the opportunity we hold within agriculture and forestry in Alberta to not only feed the world but lead significant economic growth while contributing to solutions to the world’s great challenges.
In this episode
- The difference between agriculture, food and agri-food
- Why Alberta’s agri-food industry is so important to the province, Canada and the global food system
- How COVID-19 has changed the agri-food industry in Alberta
- The inception and inspiration of the Strategic.Action.Plan.
- Opportunity in sustainability, carbon capture and emissions reduction
- Opportunity and mechanisms in value-added production
- Quick wins to achieve economic growth in the short term
- How Alberta’s agri-food industry advances shared prosperity