Success in the agriculture sector is supported by the surrounding region, which includes more than 900 farms generating farm receipts of $1.1 Billion per year, building on assets of $3.2 Billion. Primary crops in this region include canola, corn, potatoes, sugar beets and pulses in addition to significant livestock and dairy production.
There are more than 120 established agri-food processing businesses in the Lethbridge region producing food and/or feed for local consumption and export. In the past 10 years this sector has seen significant investment and plans for future investment, including the 2016 announcement by Cavendish Farms of a new $350 million frozen potato processing plant, the largest private investment in Lethbridge's history which will double their annual production capacity.
Lethbridge has a long history of being an agricultural production, distribution and service centre. The Lethbridge Research Centre (established in 1906) is the largest within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's national network of 19 centres and leads Canada's research in the development of bioindustrial platforms.
- The southern Alberta agricultural region has an annual production capacity of over 860,000 acres in canola crops - 21% of the Alberta total Canola crops are grown here.
- Lethbridge based Richardson Oilseed Ltd. (formerly Canbra Foods), was the first company in the world to market canola oil. In 2016, the company announced a $120 million upgrade to its canola processing facility that would enable it to process an additional 250,000 metric tons of canola every year.
- Beef producers in the Lethbridge region have the capacity to produce more than half a million head of cattle per year valued at approximately $700 million. That is 10% of the total number of cattle and calves reported across all of Canada in the 2011 Census of Agriculture.
- Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd processes approximately 14.5 million broilers per year, that’s 275,000 to 290,000 per week.
- Sunnyrose Cheese (Agropur) processes 300,000 litres of milk per day producing millions of pounds of cheese per year.
- Lethbridge Inland Terminals has shipped more than 1,000,000 tonnes of grain since it opened a few years ago on Highway 4 southeast of Lethbridge
Did You Know?
The University of Lethbridge was the first university in Western Canada to establish a Native American Studies degree program (1975) and department.