Protein has been a big topic, not just for Strathmore, but for all of Alberta. With Phyto Organix bringing a $225 million yellow pea processing plant in 2024, and the recently proposed meat labelling requirement from Health Canada, protein and the economic impacts of it has been on many peoples' minds.
While some may see traditional cattle farming and alternative plant-based meats as being competition for each other, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Nate Horner says these things can co-exist, to the benefit of all Albertan farmers.
"I think that we have a global protein shortage of all kinds, and I don't see those things as being competition for one another. Whether it's wet pea fractionation or beef, I think that we need to continue to attract that investment of all kinds into the province," Horner said.
"Why wouldn't we want Alberta farmers to see the benefit of being able to value, add and upgrade their yellow peas that they're already growing? "Instead of putting them on a train to go somewhere else to have that done to them."
The Phyto Organix plant is projected to earn an annual GDP of $120 million and create 80 jobs, while the most recent stats from the Alberta Government says the cattle industry brings over $470 million in annual GDP.
With the combined efforts of cattle and alternative proteins, Horner believes Alberta could play a big role in supplying proteins for the world.
"The world's hungry and Alberta can produce an excess of both. So we have a part to play in feeding a hungry world."
Ultimately, Horner says the Phyto Organix plant will be great for Alberta, and won't have a negative impact on cattle farmers.
"I think the world's hungry for proteins of all kinds I think that beef is a very different product (then yellow pea protein). The demand size for beef is extremely firm, and I don't see that changing."
While the plant-based protein market has seen a rapid rise in recent years, Horner sees this as a great thing for all Albertans, as he believes the interest in beef will remain strong as usual.
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