The Potato Growers of Alberta estimates potato-related agribusiness injects more than $1 billion into Alberta’s economy and Cavendish Farms is hoping to build on that number.
The family-owned potato processor in southern Alberta is in the midst of a $360-million expansion of its operations, which is expected to be complete in 2019.
“It’s a project that is good for the entire region,” says Trevor Lewington, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge, speaking to the published projections that the new Cavendish plant will almost triple the plant’s annual production.
Lethbridge by the Numbers
• Incorporated as a City:
May 9, 1906
• Current Mayor: Chris Spearman
• Population (2016): 92,729
• Population Change 2011-2016: 11%
• Land Area: 122 sq. km
• Major Project Investment: $1.1 billion
• Median Household Income: $87,570
Sources: Statistics Canada, Economic Development Lethbridge
The agriculture industry in general has been good for the southern Alberta region surrounding Lethbridge. Strategically located along the north-south CANAMEX corridor – a highway network that runs through Alberta as it connects northeastern British Columbia with Mexico – Lethbridge’s agriculture and agri-food business makes up approximately 16 percent of the city’s GDP. This prime location that’s surrounded by fertile prairie farmland has helped position Lethbridge as the perfect location for new or expanding companies to call home, where people and resources come together to create prosperous change, including food processors.
Southern Alberta’s potato producers are teaming up with academic researchers in a unique partnership to tackle issues – such as crop disease – that all producers face. The Potato Growers of Alberta, Lamb Weston, McCain’s and Cavendish Farms joined together to support the Potato Research Lab at the University of Lethbridge.
“Whether it’s helping a start-up access funding or a large industrial investor find the right land, or just linking two existing business owners together to solve a mutual problem, we want to be a broker of opportunity,” says Lewington.