Processing credit set to attract investment in Alberta, says Horner

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Cattle coming north, a tax credit for processing development, and trucking e-logs are all top of mind for Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Nate Horner.

Speaking at this week’s Alberta Beef Industry Conference, Horner says the announced Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit won’t be in place until the current government passes its budget, but the credit is creating buzz in the province.

“There’s a lot of capital out there to be deployed… at any given time, there’s between 120 and 180, different value-added ag projects our department is dealing with, whether it’s early day conversations or whether they’ve been working with them for years, to try to provide a concierge service to actually land that investment in the province. So I think, for us, it’s ongoing. But this was a tool that we identified that we needed to have in our toolbox to land more of these deals.”

Moving on specifically to cattle, Alberta’s cattle feeding industry has seen more U.S. cattle coming north, which Horner says is something to keep tabs on, but that the Canada/U.S. cattle industry is quite fluid and integrated, so the industry is well set at this time.

However, there are some challenges right now, including discrepancies between U.S. and Canadian electronic trucking log regulations. “That’s something we’re constantly telling our federal counterparts: anytime we go down a different [regulatory] path that does nothing but hurt us,” Horner says.

Horner adds that the province is also focused on trade, and has added staff in key overseas markets, such as Singapore. The government has exceeded its four-year export target in just three years, he says, and they are looking to increase those goals substantially. (Story continues below video)

Irrigation in the province has seen a renewed focus as well, with added investment and in the face of lingering drought in the southern region.

“Water is the key to everything. So I think especially seeing what’s happening in the southern US. I think it really shines a light on our desire to do do the most we can with our water as efficiently as possible. And that’s obviously that involves municipal growth. It involves irrigation expansion possibilities, but it also involves stock water, you can’t, can’t do much without, without water in the cattle business. And since the since the drought, there’s a lot a lot of holes that are still empty. So we’re rooting for more snow too.”

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