Saddle Hills Agricultural Advantage

Located in one of Canada's largest pulse crop growing regions.

Image of Map of Alberta crop areas

 Saddle Hills County is at the heart of one of Canada's most important crop producing regions - especially when it comes peas and canola.

 Image of pea combinePeas

The worldwide demand for peas has been steadily increasing and promises to continue to grow.

The world demand for vegetable protein is increasing with shifts in consumer preferences and advances in the protein-processing industry.

Image of canola combineCanola

The use of canola-derived protein as a source of animal feed provides significant and growing potential for one of Alberta’s most successful crops.


Not only does Saddle Hills and Alberta have considerable varieties and numbers of livestock (est. 26,429 cattle) but Alberta  continues to report Canada’s largest herd. The province accounts for 40% of all beef breeding stock nationally and nearly 60% of all feeder cattle.

WaterImage of Peace River

Saddle Hills County is suitable for both dry and wet fractionation. In 2020 the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta along with Saddle Hills County announced the Central Peace Regional Water Project which includes the construction of a new raw water supply intake on the Peace River.

A reliable source of raw water opens the door for agricultural commodity processing facilities.

Saddle Hills County - Agricultural Facts

Saddle Hills Harvested Hectares
2016 15,765 30,456
2017 15,765 34,016
2018 15,229 33,498
2019 16,234 28,018
2020 16,267 26,701


Statistics Canada – Census of Agriculture, Statistics Canada 2020 – Table 32-10-0002-01, Canadian Grain Commission – Producer Deliveries 2020

Northwestern Alberta Potential

The larger area surrounding Saddle Hills County provides a significant source of raw product for the Bio-agricultural sector.

Crop Yield in Metric Tonnes for Alberta Crop Risk Areas 17,18, and 19*

*Includes: Saddle Hills County, MD Spirit River, Birch Hills County, MD of Smoky River, and portions of the MD of Greenview, the MD of Fairview and the County of Grande Prairie.

Maps of Alberta and Risk Areas 17,18,19


Regional Crop Yield

CropCrop Risk AreasTotals
  Area 17  Area 18  Area 19   
2016 40             52 154 246 metric tonnes
2017 56  44 195  295 metric tonnes
2018 50  48 438 536 metric tonnes
2019 39  40  293 372 metric tonnes
2020 17  10 420  447 metric tonnes
2016 -  32  317 349 metric tonnes
2017 0  79  542 621 metric tonnes
2018 37  83  662 782 metric tonnes
2019 55  122  750 927 metric tonnes
2020 49  117  857 1,023 metric tonnes

Source: Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) Yield Alberta 2020, page 40 Yield Alberta 2021, pages 39 and 40. Use search term 'Yield.'


Potential Regional Crop Production

Agricultural Land Inventory (2016)
Clear Hills County 63,360 43,061
County of Grande Prairie 42,233 156,061
Smoky River 48,672 259,729
Birch Hills 41,159 149,018
Spirit River 30,525 45,252
Saddle Hills 48,325 78,833
Fairview 21,561 99,265
Peace River 22,253 35,335
  318,088 acres 867,154 acres
Deliveries to Primary Elevators (2017-18)*
Rycroft 133.9 402.0
Smoky River 64.0 160.2
Sexsmith 63.3 143.8
McLennan 20.0 132.0
Grimshaw 73.5 173.1
  354.7 metric tonnes 1,011.1 metric tonnes

*Some of the Saddle Hills County grain harvest is shipped through the elevator in Dawson Creek, BC, which has a capacity of 4,300 tonnes.

 The Region

The larger region (including Dawson Creek and Ft. St. John, BC, Grande Prairie, and Fairview AB, and adjoining/nearby  Counties such as Birch Hills, Clear Hills, Spirit River and the M.D. of the Peace) represents a diverse economic environment which includes:

  • agriculture
  • manufacturing and warehousing
  • transportation and logistics
  • oil and gas

With many strategic advantages, Saddle Hills County is well-equipped to provide opportunities for Bio-Industrial companies based on a large supply of high-yield protein crops and access to markets.

Central Peace Regional Water Project

In September of 2020, Saddle Hills County announced the Central Peace Regional Water Project (Phase 1 & 2) which includes the construction of a new raw water supply intake on the Peace River as well as approximately 36 km of new raw water pipeline.

Image of grain elevatorsHighlights & Features


  • A key element of a robust local and regional economy
  • A strong and reliable tax base
  • Thriving oil and gas industry
  • Access to national and international markets


  • Ideally located at the geographic center of the some of the largest pulse-producing areas in Western Canada
  • Easy access to airports at Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John
  • Connected by major road networks such as Highways 2 and 49 (AB) and Hwy 97 (BC)
  • Rail service by CN in Dawson Creek, Rycroft and Woking
  • Water  infrastructure

See also: Central Peace Regional Water Project

Business Advantages

  • No business tax or licensing fees
  • Low provincial and local taxes
  • Cost-competitiveness


The larger region* mentioned above offers a population of some 42,445 with of workforce of approximately 30, 772. The sectors served by this large workforce include: Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Forestry and construction of the huge Site C Dam Project near Ft. St. John, BC.

*The larger region includes: cities of Grande Prairie (Pop 63,166), Dawson Creek (Pop. 12, 978) and Fort St. John (20,155) as well as the municipalities of Fairview (Pop 2,998) and those of the Central Peace Region (Pop 6,085).

Investment Opportunities

Saddle Hills Economic Development Strategy identifies a number of targeted growth opportunities.

  • Agriculture
  • Export
  • Petrochemical Manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure development
  • Housing

See also: Area Structure Plans

Our Community

Image of boy holding combine model with real combine in backgroundSaddle Hills County has a long history as a farming community and is known for producing some of the highest quality and largest quantities of pulse crops in all of Canada.

We are a hard-working people with a strong sense of community and, true to our motto, ‘The Wilderness is our Back Yard’ we offer a tremendous number of opportunities for those who enjoy the outdoors - hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, boating,  camping.


*Photo from 2020 harvest by Anna Richard.

See also:Image of 2021 County Living Newsletter

Saddle Hills County – A Regional History

Census Profile, 2016 Census, Saddle Hills County

Townfolio Profile – Saddle Hills County

Saddle Hills County Annual Reports and Newsletters  



Image of canoe on Peace River

*Photo by Reese Dolen



Email |        | Phone 1-888-864-3760     | Mailing Address RR#1 Spirit River, AB, T0H 3G0

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