How Temperature-Regulated Metal Buildings Support a Booming Agriculture Industry in the Prairie Provinces

How Temperature-Regulated Metal Buildings Support a Booming Agriculture Industry in the Prairie Provinces

There’s more to this metal building than meets the eye. The controlled environment was constructed for Sunny Valley fruit in Keremos, B.C. with custom rooms to meet food standards.

Take a drive through the Prairie provinces in Canada, and some people will only have one word to say: flat. But farmers, agricultural leaders, and people like our team at MSC see a thriving industry that’s not only feeding Canadians but helping them prosper. 

In 2022, the agri-food system employed 2.3 million people, provided one in nine Canadian jobs, and generated $143 billion, according to Statistics Canada, and the demand for Canada’s crops is only growing. 

Food distribution in Canada isn’t getting smaller; it’s only evolving,” says Corey Ivanitz, co-owner of Metal Structure Concepts and manager of the Alberta and Saskatchewan division. 

Steel building company MSC has been designing and erecting metal buildings in western Canada for the agriculture, retail, industrial industries, and more for over 20 years.

To say the Prairie provinces are carrying the weight of Canada’s agricultural business would not be an exaggeration. The majority of Canada’s cropland (four-fifths, or 51.2 million acres, or too many football fields to count) lives in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. 

Canada’s bread basket, A.K.A. Saskatchewan, is home to two-fifths of the overall cropland and is the leading province when it comes to growing cereals, including wheat; seeds to produce oils, like canola; and pulses, like lentils. 

Neighbouring Alberta has been thriving in the agricultural industry thanks to excellent land management practices and copious amounts of arable land and sun. In 2020, the province alone accounted for one quarter or $22.2 billion in farm operating revenues in Canada. 

Protecting Canada’s agricultural investments is key to increasing profits and future-proofing an already flourishing industry. One way farmers and industrial agricultural processors can do that is temperature-regulated metal buildings.


A growing need in the agriculture industry

As agribusiness in Canada continues to grow, so does the need to continue evolving agricultural processes, including when it comes to food storage. It’s something that Corey hears from farmers first-hand in Alberta and Saskatchewan when he’s on the job. 

“The industry is growing, and buildings are getting better and more efficient,” he says. 

Growing and harvesting a successful crop is just the beginning. Next comes long-term storage, a critical step for any crop, but also for those that will undergo processing. 

Part of the key to industry growth isn’t just the crops that are harvested; it’s what they become. Food and beverage processing is when apples become juice, wheat becomes bread, or canola seeds become oil. 

That’s one place where food storage metal buildings come in. These buildings have become instrumental in storing and preserving crops at the highest quality, making them a modern solution for Canada’s farmers and agricultural processors. 


The benefits of temperature-regulated metal buildings for agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has found that after harvest, temperature control is the most important factor in preserving product quality—that goes for cut flowers as well!

For fresh food like fruits and vegetables to maintain quality over a long period of time, key factors need to be carefully controlled, such as:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Airflow

Because these plants are alive, storage at their lowest possible safe temperature (without going too cold—that’s key) is the number one thing you can do to extend their lifespan before they make it to the plate.

Humidity is also a factor you don’t want to sleep on: water loss can quickly deteriorate the quality of your produce. 

More than a dedicated space for farms to store produce and juices, climate-controlled metal warehouses have the ability to control those crucial elements (temperature, humidity, oxygen levels, and more), meaning huge benefits when it comes to getting the most out of your yield. By taking control of those variables, farmers and industrial agriculture professionals are able to:

  • Limit food waste
  • Extend the life of your crop
  • Gain peace of mind for food storage

In a nutshell, these buildings will help your fruits, vegetables, or other plants to last longer, increasing profitability and lowering risk for your business. 


How food storage metal buildings work

Forget your grandmother’s cold storage room. Temperature-regulated metal buildings are where tried and true concepts in food preservation and storage meet today’s technology. 

Food storage needs are complex and depend on the crop you are harvesting and storing. For example, potatoes may require one temperature and humidity, and mushrooms another. 

Climate-controlled buildings are erected and usually partitioned into separate areas which are outfitted with the ability to control:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Oxygen levels
  • Airflow
  • Atmospheric pressure

Having the power to adjust these factors gives you the ability to get the most out of your yield for the longest possible time. 


Built by MSC, tailored to your needs

Atmosphere-controlled steel buildings are created with your specific business in mind. Working with you and our designers, MSC will gain a detailed understanding of your business’s needs to build a climate-controlled storage building that does everything you need it to do, from storage to packing to processing. 

The climate-controlled metal warehouses for storage that MSC builds tend to be 20,000 - 100,000 square feet, but if you have a specific size or need in mind for your farm, get in touch. We’re always happy to take on unique projects. 


Examples of temperature-regulated steel buildings from MSC

MSC has been working on temperature-regulated metal buildings with farmers and industrial processors in B.C. for several years now, with amazing results. Here are some recent examples:


Kalsam Orchards

One of the foremost pear-growing farms in B.C., Kalsam Orchards, recently invested in a cold storage facility to house their apples and pears. With 60 acres of Anjou and Bartlett pears and another 60 acres of apples, maintaining the quality of their harvest is instrumental to the farm’s success. MSC was able to help the orchard with a building that was versatile and designed to fit their needs, including temperature-regulated storage, roof height, and architectural features. We designed, supplied, and installed a 7,350-square-foot metal building for Kalsam that features:

  • Climate-controlled cold storage
  • 105-foot clear span interior frames
  • Expandable end walls for future editions
  • Standing seam roof

And we did all of that in only 20 days!

Sunny Valley Fruit

Sunny Valley Fruit is a family-owned and operated orchard in Keremeos, B.C., that spans 180 acres and grows high-quality apricots, plums, peaches, cherries, nectarines, and apples. Perpetually dedicated to improving the quality of their fruit, Sunny Valley Fruit invests in cutting-edge farming practices and agricultural technology. 

The 2,500 square-foot facility encompasses:

  • Fruit-packing facility
  • A climate-controlled metal warehouse for product storage
  • Custom rooms that meet food standards

Farming Karma Fruit Company

One part orchard, one part craft soda manufacturer, and one part agricultural tourism hub, Farming Karma in Kelowna, B.C., has built an agricultural legacy from their family-operated farm that grows and processes apples, cherries, and peaches. 

Working with MSC, the fruit growers and processors recently added a state-of-the-art, 84,000 sq. ft. custom steel building that includes:

  • Climate-controlled food storage
  • Insulated metal panels for the roof and walls
  • Three large internal demising walls also complete with insulated metal panels
  • Interior mezzanine of 24,000 square feet
  • Custom deck/patio featured on two walls
  • Custom roof loading to support coolers and mechanical units throughout
  • Snow stops on all eaves for roof/gutter protection

MSC works with the agricultural industry at every step of the way. Whether you’re a small farm looking to level up or a large industrial processor and distributor, we can help meet your needs and get the most out of next season’s harvest. Contact MSC to get started.


Metal Structure Concepts has been designing and constructing steel buildings across Canada for over 20 years. From retail spaces to warehouses to wineries and more, we are the experts for your next project. Contact us today for a free quote.