Business & Policy
Regina aims to become national/global agri-food hub
By Top Crop Manager
On Oct. 25, Economic Development Regina (EDR) launched the Agriculture and Food Innovation Strategy for Regina, with a vision of becoming an agri-food hub for Canada and the world.
This strategy would have the Greater Regina Area (GRA) be known as a place of opportunity to start, grow, attract and scale agribusiness, with a skilled and educated labour force and access to expertise to help the sector reach its full potential. It would also have the critical infrastructure in place to support sector growth and have the GRA become an agricultural powerhouse where the sector is sustainable, innovative, competitive and resilient.
Led by an Ag and Food Steering Committee of leaders from across Regina’s agriculture and food sector who were appointed by EDR’s board, the strategy sets short-, mid- and long-term objectives that will have a positive impact on the GRA for generations to come.
“Ag and food represent an important multi-sectoral opportunity for the GRA economy,” said Kyle Jeworski, Steering Committee co-chair, in a press release. “The strategy is founded on our region’s traditional strength and highly respected global reputation in primary agriculture and envisions an economically and environmentally sustainable ag and food cluster for the GRA.”
Co-chair Gina Grandy added, “We are building on our natural strengths to create new opportunities and a new path forward for businesses and residents alike; a win-win for everyone in the GRA.”
Regina’s agri-food sector has seen $1.7 billion in investment announcements in recent months:
- Canada’s first venture-backed Agtech Accelerator was launched in 2021;
- Viterra and Cargill both announced that they will be building canola crushing plants;
- Red Leaf Pulp announced it will be build Canada’s first non-wood pulp facility;
- Emmertech launched a $45-million agtech venture capital fund that is expected to close around $60 million by the end of 2021; and
- Regina-based start-up, precision.ai, closed a $20-million seed round to advance their work in sustainable farming practices through precision spraying.
The GRA possesses a strong trade infrastructure, numerous anchor firms, a diverse talent pool and a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, which together create a strong foundation for continuing growth and success. The GRA intends to build on this already robust agricultural economy by driving innovation and sustainability, resulting in new end uses for crops and expanding the value-added processing chain.
“Our vision to be an agriculture and food hub for the world is ambitious – and achievable,” said John Lee, EDR president and CEO, in a press release. “We already have the ingredients to make it happen and now it’s time to bring the vision to life.”
The members of EDR’s Agriculture and Food Steering Committee include:
- Gina Grandy (co-chair and EDR board member), Dean, Hill and Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina;
- Kyle Jeworski (co-chair and EDR board member), CEO, Viterra North America;
- Murad Al-Katib, president and CEO, AGT Food and Ingredients and EDR board member;
- Elan Ange, CEO, O&T Farms;
- Eric Dillon, president and CEO, Conexus Credit Union and EDR board member;
- Michael Hoffort, president and CEO, Farm Credit Canada; and
- Shaun Semple, president and CEO, Brandt Group of Companies.
Read more about Regina’s Agriculture and Food Innovation Strategy here.