Richardson International

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Richardson International.
Privately Held
Industry Agriculture, Food Production
Founded 1857
Key people
Curt Vossen, President & CEO
Products Grains, Oilseeds, Food Production, Processing, Canola, Oats
Number of employees
Website Richardson International

Richardson International is a privately held Canadian agricultural and food industry company headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Richardson is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and a vertically-integrated processor and manufacturer of oats and canola-based products. One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Richardson has over 2,500 employees across Canada and the U.S. Richardson International is a subsidiary of James Richardson & Sons, Limited, established in 1857.

In addition to Richardson International, James Richardson & Sons manages financial services through Richardson Financial Group, property management through Richardson Center Limited, and oil and gas exploration through Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership. Richardson Financial Group consists of two operating divisions, Richardson Partners Financial Limited, and Richardson Capital. In 2009, Richardson Partners Financial merged with GMP Private Client to form Richardson GMP, a wealth management and investment services firm.


Richardson International is a vertically integrated company, with facilities across Canada and the United States. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Richardson has regional offices in Regina, SK (Richardson Pioneer) and in Boucherville, QC.

In Western Canada, Richardson operates a network of grain handling and crop input facilities under the banner of Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres.

Richardson operates port terminals in five cities under the Richardson brand.

Richardson Oilseed processes canola for oils, sprays and margarine for use by Richardson Nutrition as well as many third party customers. Richardson was the first company to market canola oil.

Richardson Nutrition markets canola products, including under the consumer brand Canola Harvest

Richardson Milling processes oats and wheat in Canada and the USA.


The Richardson family has been synonymous with the grain industry in western Canada from the early days of settlement to the present. James Richardson came to Canada from Ireland in 1822 or 1823.[1] He started in Kingston, Ontario with a tailor shop, and when he took payment in grain, he was forced into the grain business. He gave up his tailor shop, and with his two sons formed James Richardson and Sons in 1857.

1857 to 1957[edit]

  • The first Richardson elevator was built at Kingston in 1882, and another at Neepawa, Manitoba in 1890.
  • James Richardson was to arrange the first shipment of wheat from western Canada through the lake system to Liverpool, England in 1883.
  • In 1912, James Armstrong Richardson, Sr. became Vice-President, becoming President in 1919 of his grandfather's company.
  • In 1913, the Richardsons formed two subsidiaries: Pioneer Grain Company Ltd. and Eastern Terminals Ltd. By then the company had twenty-six licenced elevators, sixteen of which were in Saskatchewan.
  • By 1921, Pioneer had expanded to over 100 country elevators.
  • In 1925, at Moose Jaw, James Richardson & Sons stablished a radio station with the call sign CJRM.[2] The radio business was exited in the 40s.
  • Western Canada Airways was formed in 1926 by James A. Richardson. Western Canada Airways merged into Canadian Airways in 1930.[3]
  • In 1931, forty-four elevators of the Saskatchewan and Western Elevator companies were amalgamated into Pioneer; these elevators had been operated by the Richardsons since the mid-1920s.
  • In 1947, Pioneer acquired twenty-three elevators from the failed Reliance Grain Company.
  • In 1952, it purchased 146 elevators when the Western Grain Elevator Company was sold; Federal Grain also took some of Western’s elevators.
  • In 1953, Pioneer acquired another twenty-two elevators of the Independent line.

1957 to 2007[edit]

  • When Federal was sold in 1972, Pioneer became the largest private grain company.
  • In 1979, A 112,000-metric tonne Pioneer Grain port terminal was officially opened in Vancouver. It was capable of loading ships at 140,000-bushels per hour.
  • Over a 10 year period starting in the 90s, Richardson Pioneer built numerous concrete grain terminals across the prairies. These modern facilities were much larger and more efficient than the old wooden elevators. Most wooden elevators were closed and have since been torn down.
  • In 1994, the first terminal was constructed at Glossop, Manitoba.
    • Terminals were also constructed at Lamont, Carseland, Swift Current, North Battleford, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Melfort, Tisdale, Southey, Balgonie, Weyburn, Whitewood, Foam Lake, Brunkild, Brandon.
  • In 1999 Canbra Foods in Lethbridge was acquired. Canola crushing as well as packaging oils and margarine happen here.
    • The Canola Harvest brand is Richardson's brand of products.
  • Beginning in 2005, terminals at Corinne, SK, Yorkton, SK, Nokomis, SK and Nesbitt, MB were acquired from ConAgra Foods.
  • In 2006, crop input centres located at Corinne, SK, Nokomis, SK, Yorkton, SK, and Strasbourg, SK from United Agri Products were purchased. These purchases were the beginning of many years on acquisitions for Richardson International.

2007 to present[edit]

  • Richardson International was involved in a bidding war with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool over the purchase of Agricore United in 2007. Although unsuccessful, through the deal Richardson acquired grain elevators in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and was paid a $35 million termination fee from Agricore.[4]
  • In 2007, James Richardson & Sons Ltd celebrated their 150th year with celebrations across Canada for current and past staff and customers.
  • Richardson Oilseed opened a brand new state of the art canola crushing plant in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in July 2010. At the time of opening this plant was designed for 2,300 mt per day. In 2014, an expansion will be completed for 3,000 mt per day to be processed.
  • From 2010 to 2012, Richardson Pioneer continued to expand the Western Canadian footprint.
    • In Alberta, Crop Input Centres were purchased at Falher, Fairview, Manning, Hussar and Acadia Valley, and 1 grain terminal in Nampa.
    • In Saskatchewan, North East Terminal was purchased in Wadena along with crop input sites in Kelvington, Foam Lake, and Ponass Lake.
  • In 2011 Richardson Nutrition purchased Innovative Foods in Mississauga, Ont and Sussex, New Brunswick to further expand its canola oil packaged goods business. An $15M expansion of the packaging plant in Lethbridge was started this same year.
  • In March 2012 Richardson International along with Glencore and Agrium announced they were purchasing Viterra in a 3 way split of that company.
    • Richardson would acquire 19 grain elevators, the oat and wheat milling business in Canada and the US, a terminal in Thunder Bay and a share of Cascadia terminal in Vancouver.
    • This deal closed on May 1, 2013 and Richardson welcomed 500 new employees to the company.
  • On May 1, 2013 a new division was formed as part of the Viterra transaction - Richardson Milling.
    • 3 oat mills are located in Canada at Portage La Prairie, MB, Martensville, SK, Barrhead AB.
    • In the US, 1 oat mill is located at South Sioux City, NE and 1 wheat mill in Dawn, Texas.
  • In 2013, a new terminal was opened in Estevan, SK in time for the harvest. This was the first terminal built by Richardson since Weyburn, SK was opened in 2002.
  • Construction began in 2013 at the Vancouver terminal. Richardson plans to add 80,000 mt of storage at this facility. Construction will be completed in 2015.
  • In 2013, Richardson Pioneer celebrated their 100th year with celebrations across Western Canada around July 26.
  • In 2014, Richardson Pioneer continues in the expansion efforts by adding storage and crop input centre enhancements to a number of Ag Business Centres.
  • In 2015, work began on a new terminal in Dauphin, MB to replace the existing smaller elevator. It will be completed in 2016.


As of Dec 2013

Western Canada[edit]

  • British Columbia
    • Richardson International Vancouver terminal
    • Richardson Pioneer in Dawson Creek and Fort St John
    • Part ownership of Prince Rupert Grain Terminal
  • Alberta
    • Over 30 Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres
    • Richardson Oilseeds canola crushing facility in Lethbridge
    • Richardson Nutrition in Lethbridge
    • Richardson Milling in Barrhead
  • Saskatchewan
    • Over 40 Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres and a Regional office in Regina
    • Richardson Oilseeds in Yorkton
    • Richardson Milling in Martensville
  • Manitoba
    • Head Office at Winnipeg
    • 20 Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres
    • Richardson Milling in Portage La Prairie
    • Kelburn Farm, a 500 acre Research farm south of Winnipeg.

Eastern Canada[edit]

  • Ontario
    • Richardson International has two export terminals in Thunder Bay and 1 grain terminal at Hamilton
    • Richardson Nutrition has 1 packaging plant in Mississauga
  • Quebec
    • Richardson International has 1 export terminal at Sorel and a Regional office in Boucherville
  • New Brunswick
    • Richardson Nutrition has 1 packaging plant in Sussex


  • United States - Richardson Milling operates 1 oat mill in South Sioux City, Nebraska, 1 wheat mill in Dawn, Texas and has an office and research centre in Liberty, Kansas
  • Europe / Asia - Richardson International has regional grain offices in Geneva, Singapore and Hong Kong


External links[edit]