The Alberta government is working to ease the demand for agriculture and agri-food workers.

In partnership with the federal government, $2.5 million is being made available to Ag for Life to help companies recruit, hire and retain workers in the sector.

Ag for Life has delivered agriculture education to over half a million Albertans since 2011. 

Eligible organizations can apply for grants of up to $40,000 to increase public awareness of agricultural career opportunities through online advertising campaigns.

Ag for Life will also offer grants of up to $25,000 to provide organizations with human resources training to support worker retention.

"Alberta's agriculture sector continues to grow and set new investment and export records despite facing numerous challenges," said Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. "This funding will help producers and processors with their labour needs so they can remain competitive, grow their businesses, and respond to an international food shortage."

Eligible companies can apply for the grant through Ag for Life until March 2024.

In 2021, food manufacturing was the largest industry in the province (23.8 per cent of provincial manufacturing sales), ahead of petroleum and coal 
product manufacturing (22.7 per cent) and chemical manufacturing (16.8 per cent). 

In 2021, value-added exports grew for the eighth consecutive year to $8.2 billion, up 23.4 per cent from 2020, representing 58.4 per cent of Alberta's total agri-food exports. 

Higher exports of beef, canola oil (crude and refined), oilseed cake and meal, processed potatoes and prepared animal feeds contributed to the increase.

Exports of beef, the largest value-added product, jumped 40 per cent to a record $3.5 billion.