As the Calgary Stampede kicks off Premier Jason Kenny is promoting the important milestones in the province's agriculture sector.

 "We have seen $1.5 billion of new investment in agri-food and food processing in Alberta.  An incredible sign of strength of Alberta's economic recovery and this is great news. From potato processing to hemp manufacturing, we're seeing products grown here in Alberta being exported around the world, and it's just the start."

As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Agri-Food Investment and Growth Strategy set an aggressive target to increase agri-food investment by $1.4 billion in Alberta by 2023.

The announcement on Thursday showed the province not only reached their investment goal one year earlier than expected, but met and surpassed their job creation target two years in advance.

Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Minister Nate Horner says with the new investment in the agri-food sector it will create 3000 new jobs.

"The past three months alone, we've announced more than $592 million in ministry supported investments. This includes projects such as INCA Renewtech's $72 million hemp product manufacturing facility in Vegreville.  Super-Pufft's new $50 million potato chip processing facility in Airdrie, and Phyto Organix $225 million yellow pea wet fractionation facility in Strathmore."

Stats show that from April 2019 to March 2022, the government facilitated 197 investment projects in plant protein, greenhouse, agri-technology, general food processing and emerging sectors like hemp and cannabis.

Kenny says agriculture is foundational to where we are today, and its future remains bright in Alberta. 

"That’s why Alberta’s Recovery Plan is focused on building on our strengths, in sectors like agriculture, to find new ways to grow them, and create new opportunities."

In 2021, the agri-food sector contributed $8.1 billion in gross domestic product and employed 58,300 Albertans.  

Another key agriculture investment will see the modernization and expansion of irrigation infrastructure in southern Alberta, adding as much as 230,000 irrigated acres through water savings and water use efficiency.

Kenny points out that Alberta's agri-food industry is flourishing.

"In 2021, Alberta also hit a record high with $14.1 billion in Agriculture and Food exports, while food manufacturing set a record of $20 billion the province's biggest number ever."

Horner says it's a testament to Alberta’s potential on a global scale, and a stepping stone to further investment that will help employ even more Albertans in the future.