Ongoing supply chain delays have increased costs and decreased the availability of food-related goods across North America. Recent research from Food Banks Canada found that these challenges have resulted in seven million Canadians going hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022.

Because of the ongoing disruptions and uncertainty, concern about food security is growing. In response, Canadian agribusiness has begun processing more of its commodities domestically, a move that is improving national food security, supporting GDP and employment numbers, creating intellectual property, and reducing Canada’s carbon footprint.

“Historically, Canada exported goods as raw products to be processed in other countries, but in the last five to 10 years, we’ve seen a significant increase in those goods being produced domestically,” says Rob Duerksen, Canadian lead for PCL’s agribusiness unit. “By expanding Canada’s agribusiness industry, we can process more commodities locally and provide members of our communities with meaningful employment.”

In the United States, a USDA survey found that 13.8 million American households experienced reduced food security sometime during 2020, with 5.1 million households facing very low food security. Food insecurity is defined as unstable access to a food source resulting in potential diet disruptions.

“The U.S. agribusiness industry has worked to improve these numbers by establishing an end-to-end food supply chain with local food and beverage manufacturing distribution centers and networks,” says Andy Ahrendt, business lead for PCL’s North American agribusiness. “Decentralized and local supply chains, and sustainable food production such as vertical farming and bio-gas recycling, decrease the carbon footprint while creating value across the business and generating job opportunities. Producing stable, accessible sources of nutrition for communities across the country is key. This has become more of a national security component around the globe as geo-politics, climate change and instabilities have impacted traditional supply chains.”

Since PCL is involved in the North American agribusiness and food production market, we can apply our wide breadth of experience and the procurement power of a large, multinational organization toward helping clients navigate current industry challenges.

Through strategic partnerships and national agreements, our 30+ offices across North America can provide consistency and streamline multiple business goals. From site location and due diligence to facility Lean planning, design, construction and production start-up, we partner with producer customers by building and maintaining exceptional client relationships and focusing on operational excellence, return on investment and food and human safety. ​​​​​​​

“Our experience and size give us significant procurement advantages,” says Ahrendt. “We help owners prevent scheduling delays by communicating the need to start sourcing materials as early as possible, finalizing general arrangement layouts and completing designs. Early procurement ensures materials with long lead times, such as steel, piping, control panels and process equipment, are available when needed and shields owners from price escalation and schedule impacts.” 

Agribusiness provides sustainable jobs and produces food, nutraceuticals, beverages and key elements needed for crop production, such as fertilizers that are necessary for independence from global supply chains.

With 354 completed agribusiness and food projects valued at more than $5.5 billion, PCL can help our clients navigate industry challenges while building facilities that employ people and support the health and well-being of local communities.

“Through building and maintaining exceptional client relationships and focusing on operational excellence, food and human safety, we contribute to a localized agribusiness model that reduces reliance on the global supply chain,” says Duerksen. “Our contributions to agribusiness help increase food security, strengthen our economy and promote community resilience for all.”