Calgary’s agritech evolution entices global conferences
An innovative hub for the evolution of agribusiness, Calgary, Alberta, has become the destination of choice for international agriculture organizations seeking a host city for their meetings and events.
Farmland extends beyond Calgary and across one-third of Alberta, with food production rooted at the very heart of the province. Rich prairielands are home to successful agricultural businesses that have stood the test of time, managed by farmers whose resilience, passion and determination created one of the most productive agricultural economies on the planet.
The proximity of Calgary to the closest working farm has long provided a convenient base for multinational industry leaders, including BASF, Bayer, Nutrien, TELUS Agriculture and Syngenta.
“The key decision makers in the agribusiness ecosystem house their major operations in Calgary, including production and distribution,” says Patrick Mattern, Vice President, Business Development, Calgary Economic Development.
With its sunny climate and deep talent pool, Southern Alberta is renowned for its thriving, large-scale production of livestock, acreage crops, protein crops and greenhouses. Its international airport, railroads and road access to key North American and international markets make Calgary a convenient distribution hub for firms to sell their products to millions of consumers.
Green shoots in agritech
Feeding a hungry global population of more than seven billion requires futuristic thinking and visionary minds in the global agribusiness sector.
With Southern Alberta accounting for more than 20 percent of all Canadian agri-food exports, the area is renowned for its creativity and resourcefulness in developing solutions for improving farming efficiency, sustainability and production.
“The world looks to Alberta for the creation and evolution of leading agricultural technologies that are becoming more and more critical to nourish the world’s ever-growing population,” says Mattern.
“Our farms and ranches are known for being early adopters of new technology, with training centres, such as Olds College Smart Farm, providing applied research opportunities and a 2,800 acre living lab for hands on learning of smart, connected ag technology.”
More than 22 facilities in Alberta play an important role in agriculture research and innovation with its agribusiness sector projected to spend $684 million (CAD) on digital transformation by 2024.
As the engine for Alberta’s agriculture industry, Calgary is the obvious host destination for meetings and events of organisations that operate within this vital industry.
Why convene in Calgary?
Calgary is equipped to host large-scale events, especially with $1 billion (CAD) of infrastructure investment focused on expanding the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, among other projects, making it the largest convention centre in Western Canada by 2024.
“It’s not surprising to see the city attracting international business events, with the U.S. Grains Council and American Society of Animal Science both set to hold their annual meetings in Calgary in 2023 and 2024 respectively,” says David Woodward, Executive Director, Meetings & Conventions at Tourism Calgary.
“As an agricultural epicentre, Calgary is an ideal destination host, allowing members of the domestic and global agriculture industry to do business while they’re here, networking with Calgary’s brightest brains in the sector.”
The region’s world-class training institutions, including the University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, Olds College Smart Farm, and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), contribute to the ever-growing talent pool of agriculture industry executives and experts.
Meetings with purpose
By augmenting speakers’ series with Canadian agribusiness experts, or enriching programming with localized technical tours, and lab visits, business event organizers can attract delegates, increase revenues, and inspire future generations.
“We call that 'meeting with purpose’,” says Woodward, pointing out that when the time is right for in-person events to resume, Alberta is poised to show off its agribusiness ecosystems and the industry leaders who are trailblazing new agritechnologies.