Prince Edward Island is still the king of potato production in Canada. As Stompin’ Tom Connors sang about Bud the Spud from the bright red mud, the tiny province produced 2.3 billion pounds of potatoes last year. Manitoba is in second place, followed by Alberta and New Brunswick. These four provinces account for over three-quarters of Canadian potato production.
But what’s remarkable about Alberta’s spud farming is the growth over the last two decades. Compared to 1997, production has more than doubled (+132 per cent). That compares with an increase of only 35 per cent in Manitoba and four per cent in New Brunswick. Production in Prince Edward Island has dropped 20 per cent.
At over $200 million per year, the value of the potato crop in Alberta is small compared to wheat or canola. Still, it represents a nice piece of agricultural diversity. It also feeds into the provinces growing agri-food industries. Processed and frozen potato production, particularly around Lethbridge, continues to expand.
So this summer, when you’re enjoying a beautiful baked potato or munching on a bag of salt and vinegar chips, you’ll know that spud came from Alberta’s soil! It all adds to the increasing diversity of our provincial economy.