According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture, the region surrounding Medicine Hat grows 284,000 acres of canola.
Canada exports 90% of all canola it produces, with the United States ($3.7 billion) and China ($3.6 billion) representing the two largest markets.
In November 2018, China and Canada agreed to double agriculture trade by 2025. That announcement was soon followed by two Canadian canola traits being accepted by China, opening the door for new seed genetics that will enable Canadian farmers to grow hundreds of millions more dollars of canola on the same amount of land.
China blocked shipments of canola in March 2019, citing pests found among the grain.
Medicine Hat’s surrounding region produces a variety of pulses, dry field peas, chickpeas, lentils, dry white beans, and other dry beans. While the region is suited to most major pulse varieties, dry peas are the predominant crop.
There are 3,163 farms growing pulses on 606,962 acres in the region, according to the 2016 Census of Agriculture. In Alberta, producers grew 2,500,831 acres of pulses and Saskatchewan producers grew 2,402,607 acres of pulses. Canada exported over $4 billion worth of pulse crops in 2016, with US exports growing at a rate of 13% CAGR over the past five years.
Protein Industries Canada (PIC) was established to incentivize investment into the prairie provinces’ value-added plant protein industry with the vision to develop new markets and applications for pulse ingredients, with protein leading the way. PIC was awarded over $150 million in 2018 by the federal government as part of its Innovation Superclusters program. The money will be used towards investing in genetics and processing development.
Overall production acreage in Alberta trended upwards with a total of 18,083 registered hectares as of 2017. The Government of Canada reports that Alberta accounts for nearly one third of all approved hectarage and over 25% of Canada’s hemp licenses. The neighbouring province of Saskatchewan has 22,000 registered hectares.
Hemp is one of the fastest growing business opportunities in North America in 2018. CBD oil production is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31%, hemp food is growing at a rate of 25%, and fibre is growing at 5.1%.