Richardson investing big bucks in the future of western Canadian agriculture
By Tim Kalinowski
Richardson International continues to forge the way for the agri-service industry in Canada with its recent acquisition of two new crop input centres in Alberta, Webb’s Crop Services in Vermilion and Agro Guys Inc. near Forestburg. These latest acquisitions represent the agro-giant’s latest vote of confidence in the western Canadian agriculture industry after spending $120 million last year to upgrade its Lethbridge canola crush plant.
According to Richardson vice-president of agribusiness operations Tom Hamilton, there is a just that much to be optimistic about in the industry right now.
“Agriculture has always been a very stable industry, and production continues to increase overall,” says Hamilton. “We want to continue to be a leading player in the industry, and to do that you need to continue to invest in your assets and your people to be able to achieve that goal.”
Richardson International is Canada’s largest agriculture company with fingers in many pies, but Hamilton feels all aspects of its business work toward the goal of enhancing the agriculture industry in western Canada as a whole. And they are not done yet; not by a long-shot.
“We are looking to continue to invest in businesses across western Canada, both from a grain and crop input perspective,” Hamilton confirms. “As well as crushing and further added processing.
“In addition, to that we have our research farms, and that is more from a agricultural education perspective. Both to ensure we are demonstrating the new technologies to our farmer/grower customers and to ensure we are educating individuals.
“There are school students, for example, who do not know what canola looks like growing in a field. We want to make sure we are telling the ag. story.
“We are well-positioned for future growth,” adds Hamilton, “both from a terminal perspective and a crushing perspective. We also have our oat-milling business, and addition to that our crop input business across western Canada.”
Hamilton says agriculture is becoming an increasingly complex business as time goes on, and Richardson will do what it must to respond to its customers’ needs from a service, inputs, value-added and marketing perspective.
“The agriculture business is growing and to remain relevant as an agro-business you have to grow with it,” states Hamilton.
“There is a lot of new competitors coming in on the grain side so we still have to remain relevant and continue to invest. We have to be able to offer our customers that ability to enhance their ability to deliver grain, and buy crop inputs from us.”