Overview of Agriculture in Alberta

farmFarmers in Alberta take pride in producing an abundant supply of crops of high qualit which are available for both domestic use and export (read more). Alberta’s farmers raise 2/5 of beef in Canada and the province offers a bountiful supply of commodities such as cooking oil, sugar, vegetables, poultry, pork, dairies, and grain. Exports for certain foods and crops increase while others mark a decline over the years depending on the state of the economy, weather conditions, and other factors.

Crops and Commodities

The major crops in Alberta are alfalfa, barley, spring wheat, and canola. Other agricultural commodities include sugar beets, potatoes, flax, mustard, chickpeas, and lentils. Farmers in Alberta also raise dry peas, mixed grain, winter wheat, oats, and durum (read more). The main peas crops are chickpeas, green and yellow peas, and dry peas. In 2013 alone, the province produced 5.5 million tons of barley, 6 million tons of canola, and over 11 million tons of wheat. Canola seed is a key crop in Alberta, with three crushing plants to process canola seed and produce canola meal and oil. The total capacity of the 3 plants is about 1.5 million tons. Canola oil is good for health as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and other essential nutrients and is low in saturated fat.

Exports and Statistics

The main markets for wheat produced in Alberta include Indonesia, and the United States. Mexico, Japan, China, and the U.S. are the major markets for canola seed. Producers report higher exports of vegetables, fruits, barley, and potatoes and declines for fodder, hay, mustard seed, flaxseed, dry peas, corn, rye, and oats. Other products that show a moderate increase include wheat flour, honey, beverages, fruit and vegetable preparations, oilseed meal and cake, animal feeds, processed potatoes, and barley malt. The major markets for agri-foods include South Korea, Mexico, Japan, China, and the U.S., with a total of over $7 billion in exports. The U.S. remains the largest trading partner of Alberta. China is the second largest trading partner of the province, with a total of $1.3 billion in exports a year. Alberta exports mainly canola seed, crude canola oil, flaxseed, dry peas, wheat, refined canola oil, barley, and French fries. The third largest export market and trading partner is Japan, with a total of $1.2 billion a year, as of 2014. Alberta exports mainly honey, French fries, and canola seed as well as processed meats, pork, beef, and live horses. In general, the largest exports go to Asia and North America, as well as Western Europe, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Alberta has trading partners in Central America, Asia, and Oceania. Mexico and South Korea are also major markets, with Alberta exporting mainly fodder, hay, prepared and milled cereal, prepared animal foods, and crude and refined canola oil.