The second Economic Impact of Agriculture in Lethbridge County report, prepared by Serecon, was presented to council on Oct. 15, with the purpose of outlining the County’s agricultural impact, both in size and contribution to the economy and GDP.
According to Reeve Lorne Hickey, the first survey was released in 2016 using numbers from 2012, while the recent report used numbers from 2016.
With agriculture being one of Alberta’s largest industries, the county wanted to know where it stands in comparison with the rest of the province.
“There’s been a lot of talk about this being an agricultural cluster zone,” said Hickey.
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Key findings include the more than $2.2 billion in gross farm receipts generated in Lethbridge County, making it the only municipality in Alberta to reach this amount.
Hickey says the next highest amount was in the Municipal District of Taber, coming in at just under $1 billion.
“The numbers include livestock sales and grain sales, and things like that,” he said. “Over the years, the numbers keep rising up.”
Livestock reportedly represents around 80 per cent of this figure, with this portion of the industry contributing more that $500 million to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
“With we have the proven ability that this area, in particular, can produce products,” Hickey said. “The next step is to get people to invest in the actual finishing of the products.”
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While the numbers are beneficial to know, Hickey says they plan on using it to push the government to support the area going forward.
“This report gives us the information we need to lobby both levels of government, the provincial and federal, to make sure that we do have the infrastructure capable to deliver these products to market.
Lethbridge County covers a total of 681,697 acres of land around the City of Lethbridge.
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