Animal feed, breeding farms and grain trading
Primary market: Eastern Canada
Number of employees: 400
President: Patrice Brochu, president
Yasmine Zakem marketing coordinator
Quebec has an exceptionally strong food production sector, so it is not surprising that the province would host several national champions. Saint-Isodore based Agri-Marché, which supplies animal feed to the pork, dairy and poultry sectors, is one. Led by Patrice Bochu and siblings Jean-Pierre and Guylaine, the company is a third generation family business, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.
Brochu grew up in the company, which also operates breeding farms and a transhipment center. He began working in barns and later in one of Agri-Marché’s three feed mills, where the company receives grains by truck or rail from across North America and then mixes them. Vitamins and nutrients are added, based on a variety of proprietary “recipes,” that were developed to target the animals that will eventually eat them. Product is shipped in either pellet or flour format.
“Livestock production has become an extremely sophisticated business,” says Brochu who took over the presidency from father Donald five years ago. “During each step of their development the animals get the food, energy, nutrients and proteins that they need. They now grow faster than ever. Everything is calculated including water and air needs. In fact the animals are often better fed than people are.”
Like many agricultural sector players, Brochu is eyeing the future warily. Canada’s trade negotiations with the European Union and Pacific Rim countries, in which supply management in the food production industry is an ever-present issue, have raised considerable uncertainty among Agri-Marché’s clients, many of whom favour the status quo. “It’s out of our control,” says Brochu. “So we invest a lot of money in research and development and in boosting efficiency. That way we can be competitive no matter what happens.”
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