By Jensen, Randy on October 31, 2020.
Lethbridge County is staking its claim to being the most highly valued agricultural jurisdiction in Alberta with over $2.2 billion in gross farm receipts, more than double the next closest municipality.
“Our strength as a region lies in agriculture and our producers who make such significant economic contributions, not only locally but on a provincial and national scale,” says Reeve Lorne Hickey in a news release. “Although the future for many municipalities remains uncertain due to the global pandemic, we are optimistic that we will weather the storm by supporting our ag industry that continues to provide the world with high-quality food products.”
About 80 per cent of the local agricultural value generated in the county’s total number comes from the County’s livestock industry, particularly its intensive feeding operations. The other 20 per cent is generated by crops.
This information comes by way of a report commissioned by Lethbridge County council from consultant Serecon, and was presented during the Oct. 15 council meeting.
Other key findings include: intensive livestock operations contribute over $500 million to the County’s GDP; value-added agriculture also contributes significantly to the County’s economic profile; farm cash receipts in Lethbridge County increased by 90 per cent from 2011 to 2016; agriculture contributed $732 million to the County’s overall GDP; the market value for livestock and poultry increased 200 per cent between 2011 and 2016; and wheat remains the highest-contributing crop to the County’s GDP followed by barley and canola.
“The Serecon report underscores the ongoing strength, stability and importance of our established livestock industry as well as traditional crops such as wheat, barley and canola,” says the County’s economic development officer Martin Ebel. “However, it also highlights the exciting development of non-traditional, high-value crops in the County, in addition to the very strong investment in value-added agri-food production. It is really a nice balance, with realistic opportunities for continued sustainable growth in the future.”