Business in Focus
A snapshot of who we are.
“Tradition is maintained and honored by the Municipal District of Willow Creek Council but they maintain a flexibility for new business. Tradition, whilst important, is not the driver in our business, innovation is key, to be considered as leaders in change and innovation is very important to our business.”
“If we had to point to one thing we were enthusiastic about, it would be the opportunity that the agriculture industry has to help mitigate climate change. As ranchers we have the opportunity to pull C02 out of the atmosphere and greatly reduce our overall C02 potential, and eventually create an economy from climate initiatives and land stewardship.”
A7 Ranche is said to be the oldest ranch in Canada that still retains the original family owners, right through to present-day owner John Cross.
John Cross & Tanis Cross, 3rd & 4th Generation Ranchers, Business Owners & Land Stewards
The A7 Ranche is rooted in the tradition, business and political history of Alberta over the past 135 years. Founded by A.E. (Alfred Ernest) Cross in 1886, who picked the ‘A7’ brand to symbolize himself and his six siblings. A.E. Cross is best known for being one of the “Big Four” cattlemen who co-founded the Calgary Stampede in 1912.
“In the lands surrounding us we see that most landowners are pushing in the same direction, we’re all good land stewards and most have generations of experience. Our ranching community feels like a collection of colleagues not competitors.”
“We’re very proud to be a 3rd and moving into a 4th generational business, we’ve been able to consistently improve our land stewardship over the past 135 years. “
“What is our biggest asset? Well simply put, the asset is Alberta; the province is business friendly and is blessed with fantastic natural lands, it strikes the balance between business and tradition.”
The Cross family has deep roots in Alberta. And their family stories are written on the land, and their children’s future will be too. With long-term land and water health, and a sustainable economy being key components in the daily running of the business. In time honored tradition the Cross’s take very seriously, the land stewardship responsibilities that come with the territory, and committed to environmental conservation. Being a rancher is respecting a harmonious land-people-animal relationship that has stood the test of time for nearly 135 years.
Claresholm Solar Capstone Infrastructure Corporation Ltd.
Greg Lamming, Civil QA Manager
Capstone Infrastructure Corporation Ltd. are a leading Canadian independent power producer with over a decade of experience developing, owning and operating diversified power facilities across Canada. Capstone is focused on sustainable development and operational excellence to deliver reliable emission-free power to communities.
“The Willow Creek region has a wholesome, family-oriented, farming culture with strong ties and togetherness at the heart of the local community.”
“The Municipal District of Willow Creek has a very progressive Council who are supportive of new business opportunities, particularly renewables, making innovation possible. Council were responsive and approachable facilitators in a quickly evolving business environment.”
“At Capstone we are growing to meet ever increasing energy demands of the growing economy while building and maintaining relations with local suppliers, merchants and tradesmen.”
“As a builder of renewable energy farms, I was excited to move to Alberta from Ontario to be a part of the largest energy projects in Canada. I’m now in my third year as a resident of Alberta, my Wife and I have bought a home, and because we love the culture, lifestyle and recreation in Southern Alberta, we hope to call Alberta home for many years to come.”
“The best asset in southern Alberta? I’d probably have to say the Sun, over 330 Sunshine days a year, it’s good for solar and good for me!”
The Claresholm Solar project is a 132MWac solar photovoltaic power plant owned and operated by a joint venture between Obton A/S and Capstone Infrastructure Corporation, and is located 13km southeast of The Town Claresholm in the Municipal District of Willow Creek in southern Alberta, Canada. It is currently the country’s largest operating solar power plant. The solar farm is projected to help avoid approximately 149,000 metric tonnes of CO₂ a year and generate sufficient renewable power for approximately 33,000 households in Alberta.
“Tradition is very important to our business … it’s what helps make us a good neighbour. We’re integrating a new type of farming in this diverse agriculture community, with sheep grazing on site we are able to parallel both farming and renewable energy, a pioneering practice we expect will grow exponentially across Canada.”
“It’s sometimes hard to put your finger on what community means, but when we had a serious grass fire in March 2021, we witnessed local farmers, residents, fire departments and Municipal staff pull together to assist local landowners. When the fire reached our facility, we were treated as neighbours and not a business, out came every type of farm equipment to dig and plow to stop the spreading fire. That was when I realized the company and my family had chosen the right place and community.”
At the Claresholm Solar site, Capstone has been able to integrate agriculture practices into the nearly 500’000 panel solar farm, collaborating with the landowner and the municipality they’re able to graze approximately 1000 sheep per year on the pasture land beneath the solar panels. This symbiotic use of land not only increases the lands productive value but helps to minimize invasive plant species.
“I am so proud that we’re able to provide a marketing alternative and route to market for our local products that didn’t exist 5 years ago, we’re enabling and facilitating access to international markets.”
“Growth in Alberta Agriculture is just getting started and there are so many avenues left to explore, we offer routes to markets that local producers don’t always have access to and once producers get access to markets they can procure better seeds, resources and sell at higher prices, the growth curve is exponential.“
Market Place Commodities Ltd.
Jim Beusekom, President
Market Place Commodities merchandise agricultural commodities sourced and delivered throughout Canada, the United States and South-East Asia. And offer customers and vendors accurate, real time marketing and contracting options.
“The culture here is amazing, we have a traditional agricultural environment and a healthy mix of traditional and modern approaches to business.”
“Tradition isn’t important to my business, in a global economy my business must be adaptable and innovative, but tradition is very important to me personally, and Alberta strikes that balance.”
“Our business merchandises locally produced agricultural products from local farmers and ships them to nearby and international markets. Farmers love to work with local businesses, a local business understands the culture and tradition, and understand the producers and products and It’s important for our company to be the conduit to outside markets, it’s basically a win-win for everyone.”
Market Place Commodities primary grain elevator near Fort Macleod in Alberta is the only elevator that operates without the need of a railway connection. They load the grain directly into road going shipping containers that are then shipped to markets around the globe via Canadas major ports.