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.