“Feb. 23 is Canada’s Agriculture Day, so let’s celebrate and recognize the hard work of Alberta farmers and ranchers across the province. What they do every day puts food on the table for families around the world.

“Each year is challenging for agriculture in Alberta with our harsh winters, unpredictable summers and volatile commodity prices forcing everyone in the industry to adapt and innovate.

“Research into new ways to plant crops, raise livestock and move products has always been critical to over a century of successful family farms and ranches. That is why Alberta’s government is investing $370 million over the next decade to fund research through Results Driven Agriculture Research, or RDAR, to ensure farmers and ranchers direct research priorities.

“The agriculture sector in Alberta is well on its way to achieving a $1.4-billion private sector investment target in value-added food production – so far reaching $527 million and more than 981 new jobs.

“2020 was a great year for most in agriculture with bumper high-quality crops, strong commodity prices and record exports. There’s a good outlook for 2021 as well, with strong global prices and demand.

“Work is underway to create new irrigation reservoirs and hundreds of kilometres of pipelines to replace open-air water canals. This is from a historic $815-million irrigation deal with the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Government of Alberta and eight local irrigation districts.

“Like in agriculture, the work never stops and neither does Alberta’s government in trying to find ways to promote agriculture and support economic growth. However, on Canada’s Agriculture Day, I hope everyone takes the time to ‘thank a farmer’ and appreciate the hard work and determination of everyone in our world-leading agriculture sector.”