Cor Van Raay

Cor Van Raay

Agricultural innovator and entrepreneur Cor Van Raay has made a significant impact on farming, ranching and livestock production in Alberta. Cor passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 29, 2021, with family at his side.

Originally from Holland, Van Raay began farming in Iron Springs, Alta. 50 years ago with a half-section of cropland and a small herd of Holstein cattle. Since then, he built one of the largest and most successful cattle production and feedlot operations in the country. His agriculture endeavours included co-founding a grain company in the 1980s, and becoming a majority owner of a highly successful John Deere dealership.

His big-picture thinking, intellectual curiosity and strong work ethic not only enabled him to greatly advance Cor Van Raay Farms, but to do so in an ecologically sustainable fashion. He was recognized as a leader in the agriculture industry and his noteworthy achievements in cattle farming have earned him accolades such as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Van Raay’s passion for agribusiness was not confined to the borders of his farmstead. His vision was a future where agriculture, an enterprise on which the southern Alberta economy was established, continues to be an attractive career option for young people. Further, he sought to ensure that agriculture, regardless of the size of the operation, remains a significant force in our economy. Early in 2015, he gave the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College $5 million to jointly establish the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program. Designed to provide leading-edge training in agribusiness practices, the program will focus on agricultural economics, entrepreneurship and innovation.


Van Raay’s commitment to community was reflected by his many other philanthropic gifts and charitable activities. Over the years, he made generous donations to organizations such as the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, the Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge and the YMCA.

In addition, he funded a number of scholarships at the University, including the Cor Van Raay AGILITY Scholarship in Agriculture and Agribusiness, and two Faculty of Management scholarships, including one that was created in memory of his late wife, Christine, who passed away in 2006.

Cor Van Raay was the honouree of the 2013 Management Dinner, and the Cor Van Raay Scholarship was established with the funds raised.