The Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County is home to 15,000 urban and rural residents, serviced by fast, convenient links to markets and suppliers. Whether they are located along the north-south Highway 2 or 2A, or on the east-west Highway 53 corridor. The broader, trading area for many commercial/industrial enterprises based in Ponoka encompasses an estimated 70,000 people. A large accreditation to the success of industry both past and future in Ponoka is our prime location. Ponoka, like Edmonton to the north and Calgary to the south, lies at the crossroads of the province's primary economic corridor, linking the major metropolitan areas and running right along side Ponoka's recently expanded Town limits. Of the top five employer groups in the area, approximately 23% of the labor force is found in agriculture and agricultural-related operations; health/social services sector accounts for approximately 11%; while education and other services accounts for approximately 7% each.
Town of Ponoka Population by 5 year Age Groups, 2011
With a diverse Economic Base, Ponoka offers opportunities in:
- Agriculture – beef, equine, grain, dairy, etc.
- Industry - manufacturing, oil & gas, agricultural service, construction, technology
- Business - professional services, retail etc.
- Health Care
- Hospitality & Tourism
For more information please see the links to our Community Profile & 2011 Census statistics below:
For more information on our region please see the links below to our regional affiliates:
Agricultural consumption of fuel, fertilizer, equipment, livestock, veterinary services and associated goods and services contribute an estimated $120 million per year to the Ponoka economy.
More than just farming and ranching; the agriculture sector has diversified to include ventures like the production of exotic stock such as emus, bison, ostrich and elk. Ponoka has a strong Ag service and value-added Ag industry. There are many truck and implement dealerships, as well as a fertilizer company, feed and agri-supply businesses, a seed cleaning plant and two veterinarian clinics. A new feed mill soon to be located in Ponoka is yet another good example of how this industry is being redefined by diversity.
Vold Jones Vold
Vold Jones Vold Livestock Auction (VJV) has been an integral part of the Ponoka picture for more than 50 years. The renowned auction has established an international reputation as being one of North America's leading markets and is headquarters for the Canadian Satellite Auction. With an expert staff of 60 people, VJV is recognized as being the largest livestock auction market in Canada, selling more than 222,000 head of cattle through its system of three sales rings and its state-of-the-art sales technology. The efforts and success of VJV have served to establish Ponoka as the "Cattle Capital of Canada."
What Makes Ponoka Attractive in this Sector?
- Ponoka sits at the center of two distinct soil zones. The rich, black soils to the east consistently yield above-average grain crops, while the grey wood soils to the west are ideal for producing barley, forage crops and for grazing cattle.
- Current estimates place farming capital in the Ponoka area at a market value in excess of $1 billion annually with the greatest percentage of the amount being attributed to the livestock industry
- An estimated 300,000 hectares from the 1,600 agricultural properties in Ponoka's primary market area are maintained for cattle production for regional and international export markets.
- The livestock sector is reflected in the crop production trends, with barley, mainly for feed purposes, being the dominant crop. Close to 570,000 hectares are being seeded to barley in the direct market area on an annual basis. Other crops grown in the Ponoka area include canola, wheat, oats, field peas and rye.
- Recent years have seen dramatic increases in pork production as well as expansion of dairy, sheep, poultry, horses and honeybees reflecting the wide, modern-day diversification in agriculture.
Another aspect of agricultural diversification is the existence of market gardens, nurseries and greenhouses that exist throughout Ponoka County as well as specialized operations including the Meyer Seed Potato Farm operation located just north of Ponoka.
The Energy Sector
Lying in the heart of energy-rich Central Alberta, Ponoka is home to a number of energy resource service and supply companies who have located close to the source of the abundant oil and gas reserves. One of those energy-based industries is EnCana, which has its regional office for all of Central Alberta located in Ponoka. Another major player in the energy sector that calls Ponoka home is Gemini, a leader in unconventional oil & gas, industrial facilities, heavy oil and renewable energy around the globe. For over 27 years Gemini has provided procurement and construction management solutions. In addition to energy resources exploration, development and manufacturing, Ponoka is also home to transportation services which work closely with the oil and gas industry, providing services and hauling supplies into the oil patch and gas fields.
Commercial & Retail Development
With close to 500 licensed businesses, Ponoka is an excellent retail location with a great variety of grocery, pharmacy, hardware, fast food, restaurants, clothing, giftware and specialty storefronts. Ponoka is also home to retail outlets such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Sommer Home Hardware, True Value Hardware, The Brick, IGA, Extra Foods, The Bargain Shop and more. In addition to an array of professional service offerings, Ponoka offers local contractors for most construction, renovation and home/building projects. Ponoka is home to a number of major financial institutions with local branches including: Servus Credit Union, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank, and ATB Financial. These institutions are keen to help our community and work with local business.
A cornerstone of the local economy for over 100 years is the renowned Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, which employs over 800 people. One of Canada's major psychiatric hospitals, the Centennial Centre is recognized as a world leader in the area of brain injury research and rehabilitation treatment. Its on-site nursing school works closely with the Grant MacEwan Community College School of Psychiatric Nursing program.
Ponoka's hospitality sector is an up and coming opportunity. With the Ponoka Stampede over 75 years strong and the recent additions of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre and Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, this is most notably a sector of future growth.