Agriculture ministers expects industry to reclaim economic throne

Agriculture was king in Alberta until energy supplanted it as the No. 1 source of exports. Evan Berger, the province’s ag minister, thinks the agriculture will one day reclaim its economic throne.

Agriculture was king in Alberta until energy supplanted it as the No. 1 source of exports.

Evan Berger, the province’s ag minister, thinks the agriculture will one day reclaim its economic throne.

“Being renewable, at some point in the future we will be the largest industry again.”

Berger, who addressed attendees at the AgChoices 2012 conference in Red Deer on Tuesday, said opportunities abound for Alberta farmers as the global population grows. In China, he said, the middle class is growing by five million people a year.

“The significance of that is that those five million are now looking into a different diet than they were before,” said Berger, explaining that meat is becoming the preferred source of protein.

“They’re looking to us for supply.”

Alberta has 48 per cent of Canada’s beef herd and 74 per cent of the country’s meat processing, he said.

Currently, agriculture accounts for about $7 billion in exports, but Berger is optimistic this number can grow.

He told his audience that Premier Alison Redford has placed a strong emphasis on agriculture since she became the Tory leader in October.

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