The growing economic value of irrigated agriculture

As producers, you can appreciate the value of irrigation for your business. But have you considered what the full impact of irrigated agriculture is in Alberta?

The Alberta Irrigation District Association (AIDA) commissions a study periodically to understand just that – the economic value across the industry.

Their latest study, released in November 2021, showcases the growth between 2011 and 2018. Although the increases are very positive, they don’t yet include the benefits of the substantial infrastructure investments announced in the past year. So by the next study, in the next five years, we anticipate the results will be even more impressive.

Here are a few highlights –

  • Irrigated land only represents 4.4% of Alberta’s cultivated land base – but generates 27% of the province’s agricultural sales
  • Irrigation districts on the whole generated $5.4 billion annually to the provincial GDP, between 2011 and 2018
  • Infrastructure upgrades and technological advancements contribute to high-quality and dependable crop production
  • For every dollar invested by the provincial government in irrigation district activities returned $3.56 in added revenue to the Government of Alberta
  • $50M+ was saved annually throughout the province, by supplying water through irrigation infrastructure for agricultural, industrial and municipal purposes

If we look at the economic impact within the WID, we make every effort to keep our purchases within the local community, from tires to trees and many other supplies – and businesses in Strathmore and vicinity appreciate that commitment.

Also, within the WID, more than 40 crops can be grown, whereas that number would be 10-12 without irrigation – this diversification continues to grow with higher value crops, higher yields (up to 8 times more revenue per hectare than dryland) and higher revenue.

Read more about the AIDA’s study and results that showcase the important growth and impact of irrigated agriculture in our province.

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