Lethbridge has a long history of being an agricultural production, distribution and service centre. More than 120 (51 are in the city) established processing businesses in southern Alberta produce food and/or feed for local consumption and export. View these businesses on our interactive map tool. Proximity to producers, markets and water has resulted in the phenomenal growth of some important value-added processing facilities.
Based on a 2006 survey, agricultural services and seed & forage development combine for annual gross sales of over $60 million dollars and have an annual total payroll of over $8 million.
The Alberta region, from the City of Red Deer and South, accounts for 73% of the provincial agricultural sales and 66.2% of Alberta’s agricultural labour force.
The agriculture industry is susceptible to many factors that affect the bottom line, including weather, market changes, challenges such as BSE, H2N1 (also known as swine flu), cross-border trading issues, feed prices, fuel prices, and the list could go on and on. One of the biggest challenges for the industry is keeping overhead costs low enough on the crop production end to make a profit. The agri-food industry has the added challenge of keeping overhead down while competing for product sales in internationally markets where a high Canadian dollar takes away their competitive advantage and makes it next to impossible to compete on price.
The top 5 largest Agri-Food Companies in the Lethbridge area are:
The Lethbridge Research Centre is one of the largest of Canada’s 19 Agriculture and Agri-food research facilities andhas a long history in agricultural research and innovation in the region.
Sunrise Poultry is the second largest agri-food employer in this region.
Maple Leaf Pork (www.mapleleaf.com) is the third largest Agri-Food employer.
McCain Foods (Canada) (www.mccain.ca) has 14 production facilities and 4,000 employees across Canada. McCain was named one of 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada by the National Post newspaper.
Richardson Oilseeds (www.richardson.ca) is among Canada'a top 50 best managed businesses.