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Archives of the Agricultural Experience
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, the Libraries

The Agri-Food Industry



Image collage of Manitoba agricultural commerce

The Agri-Food Industry

There can be no doubt that agriculture is a critically important part of the Canadian economy. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry is the third largest employer in Canada and accounts for about 8.5% of the Canadian gross domestic product.

The businesses that form a part of the agri-food industry, along with farmers, are a variety of enterprises that deal with every aspect of the food production, sale and delivery system. They include suppliers, producers, transporters, and retailers.

The task of trying to document every component of the agri-food industry would be too daunting a task for even the largest archival repository, so the Archives of the Agricultural Experience has set about to acquire agri-business collections that are representative of their component of the agricultural economy and have rich and long standing ties with the Prairies.

The cornerstone of the Archives' agri-food industry holdings is the Archives of the United Grain Growers Ltd., which was donated to the University of Manitoba by UGG in 1990.  The UGG Archives is a key and valuable historical source on the early development of agriculture in the prairie provinces.   The Archives' extensive records documents the Company's growth from the Prairies' first farmer-owned grain marketing company to its role as one of the most important and influential agriculture companies in Western Canada. Additional records have been donated to the Archives by UGG in 1992, 1995, and 1999 showing the company's continued commitment to preserving its own history and the history of agriculture on the Prairies.

The Archives also holds the archives of the Ogilvie Flour Mills Ltd., spanning the years 1847-1990. This is one of the department's most detailed collections, containing all of Ogilvie's subsidiaries as well as the records from mergers with the Lake of the Woods Milling and Catelli-Habitant Ltd. The Ogilvie collection also contains an excellent selection of photographs in. This collection offers insight into all facets of the grain and milling business as well as the financial machinations of a major corporation. 

The records of the Public Markets Ltd., traces the development of the Union Stock Yards from its origins in 1912 through the seventy-five years that the company was St. Boniface, Manitoba’s major employer. The fond delves into all aspects of the livestock business from Director's records to auctions.

An on-line finding aid for the Co-operative Vegetable Oils Ltd. is available.


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Questions or Comments? Email Brian Hubner.
1998, University of Manitoba Libraries