February 11 is Agriculture Day in Canada, a day to celebrate the impact of the agriculture industry in our country. For 150 years, Manitoba’s ag sector has grown and diversified into one of the major drivers of our economy, with Winnipeg serving as its economic hub.
We’ve cultivated this set of impressive facts to prove Winnipeg, and Manitoba, is a global agricultural powerhouse and a compelling choice for future economic investment.
By the numbers
$11.6 billion - Manitoba agribusiness sector revenues in 2018
$1.5 billion - Manitoba agri-food investments since 2016
13,800 - Number of people working in the agribusiness industry in Winnipeg (CMA), 2018
1,865 - Agribusiness establishments in Winnipeg (CMA), 2018
1 in 17 jobs in Manitoba depends on direct spinoffs from agriculture
29 per cent of Canada’s soybeans are grown in Manitoba
24 per cent of Canada’s total pork production happens in Manitoba
Manitoba is Canada's largest producer of sunflower seed
Merit Functional Foods is about to take the world's plant-based protein industry by storm. The company, established in 2019, is building a state-of-the-art 88,000 sq. ft. production facility in Winnipeg where it will produce a portfolio of pea and canola protein ingredients. In January, Merit, in consortium with Pitura Seeds and The Winning Combination received a $19.1 million co-investment from Protein Industries Canada (PIC) to further expand its operations. Our YES! Winnipeg team worked with the Province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, CentrePort and the RM of Rosser as part of Team Manitoba to attract Merit’s facility to Winnipeg.
The birthplace of canola
The canola plant was bred by Canadian scientists Dr. Baldur Stefansson and Dr. Keith Downey at the University of Manitoba. The word canola comes from ‘can’ as in Canada and ‘ola’ as in oil. 7500 canola farmers grew 3.4 million acres of canola in Manitoba in 2018, according to Manitoba Canola Growers, and 90 percent of Canadian canola is exported throughout the world, which adds more than $11.4 billion to our country’s economy.
Potato king of Canada
Manitoba is poised to take the potato production crown from Prince Edward Island thanks in part to J.R. Simplot’s $460-million expansion to its potato-processing facility in the RM of Portage la Prairie. That plant alone will require Manitoba farmers to grow around 16,000 more acres of potatoes annually, according to the Province of Manitoba, and will add about six million hundredweight (cwt) in processing capacity, bringing Manitoba’s annual production goal to around 28 million cwt a year. P.E.I., long considered the potato capital of Canada, produced 22.6 million cwt in 2018.
The world’s largest pea-processing plant
France-based Roquette is currently building a $400-million plant in the RM of Portage la Prairie that will process 120,000 tonnes of peas a year when fully operational. The mega-project broke ground in October 2017 and is scheduled to open this year. Canada is one of the world’s biggest pea producing countries, accounting for 30 percent of global production. Roquette says it chose to build its plant in Manitoba because of our low hydro-electric rates and highly skilled labour-force. In January, Roquette announced a multi-year pea protein supply agreement with Beyond Meat, a leader in the burgeoning plant-based meat industry.
Canada’s largest agribusiness
Established in 1857, Winnipeg-based James Richardson & Sons is one of the largest private companies in Canada and the largest ag-related company, with annual revenues exceeding $10 billion. Richardson’s reach is truly worldwide, handling and merchandising all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds as well as processing and manufacturing oats and canola-based products. The company’s headquarters is in the heart of Winnipeg at the iconic Portage and Main intersection. Richardson continues to invest in Winnipeg too. It’s constructing the new Richardson Innovation Centre downtown, a 62,000-square-foot facility that will house the company’s food development team, product development suites, analytical laboratory, and a culinary test and demonstration kitchen.
Growing the economy
Companies in Canada’s growing cannabis sector are investing in Winnipeg thanks to our skilled workforce and low costs of doing business – which includes our low energy rates, low warehouse leasing costs, and a low-humidity climate which helps with cannabis production.
A major Winnipeg success story, Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. has been growing and distributing medical cannabis since 2014. Over that time, the company has built up an 80,000-square-foot production facility with 150 employees and several retail stores throughout Manitoba.
MJardin Group is opening a 120,000-square-foot facility that will create 200 full-time jobs in Winnipeg. MJardin Group is North America’s largest legal cannabis operator and is spearheading a national expansion strategy into Canada. In December 2019, the company received its cultivation and processing license from Health Canada for the Winnipeg facility, the largest in its portfolio. MJardin Group worked closely with our YES! Winnipeg team to open their new facility in here, said they chose Winnipeg due to its diverse, well-trained workforce, hydro rates, and centralized Canadian location.
The heart of agricultural innovation
Look no further than the agriculture-based organizations doing amazing work in the fields of food research, crop science, ag-biotechnologies, biofibre research, nutraceuticals and more to confirm the fact that Winnipeg is a hub of ag-innovation. The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (RCFFN) is a leading research institute developing alternative uses for crops grown on the Canadian prairies.
The Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI) offers unique, proprietary insights on the tastes, preferences and uses of Canadian grain in more than 100 markets, and offers training and technical programs, and support to international buyers of Canadian grain.
CIC Engineering, formerly the Composites Innovation Centre, supports and stimulates economic growth through innovative research, development and application of composite materials (including bio-materials), and technologies for manufacturing industries.
Ag-tech at its best
Manitoba companies are some of the world’s leaders when it comes to innovative agricultural technology. Since its launch in 2005, Farmers Edge has grown to become one of the world's leaders in precision-farming technology. The Winnipeg-based company has led an agricultural revolution by developing a data-driven platform that helps farmers make their operations more efficient.
Celebrating its 70th year in business, MacDon has developed a reputation for manufacturing high-performance harvesting equipment. In November 2017, the company was purchased by Linamar Corporation for over $1-billion and still maintains its headquarters and production facilities in Winnipeg.
Buhler Industries has been a staple Winnipeg-based agricultural equipment manufacturer since 1932. Its lines also include the Farm King, Allied, Inland and Versatile brands. In addition to its Winnipeg plant, Buhler also has facilities in Morden, Manitoba and Minnesota and North Dakota.
Headquartered in Winnipeg, Conviron is one of the world's leading suppliers of plant growth chambers and high performance research greenhouses. Its unique technology has been manufactured and installed in agricultural biotechnology and life-sciences centres in the United Kingdom, Australia, U.S. and Philippines.
For more information about our Agribusiness sector, go to edwinnipeg.com.