Building on a strong agricultural sector is how a central Alberta economic development alliance is planning for the future of its region. The Battle River Alliance for Economic Development (BRAED) is looking to the soil and the sun for investment opportunities, working with the resources they harvest and exploring how they could make those investments go further.
BRAED at a Glance
- Member Communities: 25
- Area: 15,619 sq km
- Population: 53,974
- Major Projects Value: $5.6 billion
- Number of Businesses: 2,622
- Key Industries: Agriculture, Defence, Energy, Manufacturing, Tourism
- Website: braedalberta.ca
Sources: Government of Alberta, BRAED
“We have been pursuing opportunities around secondary processing. Particularly we have done a lot of work around plant protein fractionation,” says Cathy Goulet, executive director for BRAED. “We are really looking at crop production, looking at crops that are most readily available in the region and what we can leverage off of.”
The organization has completed several studies and continues to work with producers to identify operational upgrades and value-added opportunities for producers. This includes everything from pulse fractionation to upgrading seed cleaning plants.
“We are working on how the BRAED region stacks up against other jurisdictions in investment readiness,” says Goulet. “We anticipate once we’ve finished this piece of work, it will strengthen our already good working relationship with the Province of Alberta in terms of investment attraction.”
Goulet points to excellent growing conditions, proximity to transportation infrastructure and the knowledge base of the region as all major factors in attracting agricultural upgrading investment. As an added advantage, the University of Alberta has a campus in the City of Camrose – approximately 90 kilometres southeast of Edmonton – bringing in research linkages to agriculture.