Alberta Potato Growers celebrating 50 years

By Greg Price, Southern Alberta Newspapers


The Potato Growers of Alberta is celebrating 50 years of rich history in 2016. The crop of potatoes has helped shape what southern Alberta is today as a critical part of agricultural history in the province. “It is home to five processing plants. We are looking at about a $200 million-dollar farm gate industry which in turn generates about a billion dollars for the province in economic return,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta. “Between all the plants, you are employing about a 1,000 people in southern Alberta. And that’s not farm employees, that’s just plant people. For the farm part, we have about 400 -year-round people and an additional 1,000 seasonal workers. That is a pretty big economic impact.” To commemorate 50 years as an organization, the Potato Growers of Alberta are publishing its first Alberta Potato Industry History Book in which it is accepting submissions form past and present members of the Alberta Potato Growers Commission, who operated from 1966 to present day. “We would like a family history of each grower and each farm. When did you start in Alberta, and where are you today?,” said Hochstein. “How many generations have been involved?” Also, the organization is collecting favourite recipes from people in which potatoes are a major staple in the recipe for families to enjoy. You can contact the PGA by calling 403-223-2262, by e-mail at, or you can go to the organization’s website at to find out more information. “We are the third largest acre producer of potatoes in Canada. PEI has the most acres, and Manitoba is slightly larger than us. Then it is Alberta, followed by New Brunswick,” said Hochstein. “But as far as yields, because of irrigation in southern Alberta, we have the highest yields in Canada. Production wise, across the province, we are about 53-54,000 acres which is third largest in Canada. PEI is running around the 95,000 range and Manitoba is in the 60,000 range. Our seed industry exports over 50 per cent of the export market in the U.S. every year. We are the biggest exporters of potatoes in Canada.”